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j* g PlOJBtTY OF TH» 

£hws ( 




the socialist library, vi. 


The Socialist Library — VI. 
Edited by J. Ramsay Mac Donald, M.P. 









23, Bride Lane, E.C. 






The Problem Stated 



The Temperance Movement 

. 18 


Labour Organisations and Drink 

. 24 


Who Consumes the Drink ? . . 

. 34 


Causes of Drinking 

. 44 


. Social Conditions 

- 55 


Other Causes 

. 66 


^Social Reform and Temperance . . 

• 7i 


Drink and Economic Poverty . . 

. 85 


Economics of Temperance 

• 94 


State Prohibition 

. 109 


Local Option 

. 119 


Disinterested Management 

- 139 


Trust Companies in Britain . . 

. 149 


Public Control and Municipalisation . 

• 159 



. 171 


Advantages and Objections 

. 183 

XVIII. Conclusion 

. 191 

Appendix I. 

. 193 

Appendix II. 

. 196 

Appendix III. 

. 200 


. 202 



Chapter I. 

The Problem Stated. 

The obvious evils of the drink traffic have 
raised the subject to the rank of a question of 
foremost political and social importance. 

The results of no other social evil are so 
apparent. Gambling may reduce a family to 
starvation ; commercial speculation may lead 
to ruin ; capitalism, by low wages, may cause 
poverty and physical deterioration, and drive 
women to shame ; landlordism may be re- 
sponsible for the ruin of agriculture and the 
degradation of the labourers to the position 
of serfs ; but the relation between cause and 
effect in these cases is not so obvious and im- 
mediate as between drink and the misery, 
poverty, ruin, crime, lunacy, disease, and 
death which the traffic brings in its train. 

The evil effects of drinking cannot be 
hidden. They obtrude themselves upon our 
attention at every turn. The public house is 
everywhere. The reeling and brutalised victims 
of drink meet us in the streets ; the slum 
areas of our towns reek with its filthy odours. | 

Drink pulls men down to the gutter from 
positions of honour and usefulness. The 
columns of our newspapers are filled with the 
stories of debaucheries, assaults, outrages, and 
murders done in drink. The time of our police 
courts is mainly occupied in hearing cases in 
which drink and the public-house figure ; our 
prisons have always thousands of inmates, 
sent there through drink ; our lunatic asylums 
are fed to a considerable extent by drink ; 
judges are unanimous in assigning to drink 
the responsibility for much of the crime they 
have to condemn ; doctors ascribe to drink 
much of the physical degeneration of the age, 
and regard it as one of the most potent causes 
of disease, physical and mental ; the educa- 
tionalist and the social reformer find drink to 
be one of the chief hindrances in their path, 
for it enfeebles the physical strength of the 
workers, it saps their independence, it de- 
stroys their self-respect, it lowers their ideal 
of life, it makes them content in poverty and 
filth, it destroys their intelligence, it makes 
them the easy victims of every unscrupulous 
exploiter who seeks to batten upon them. 

A person does not need to be a fanatical 
teetotaller to subscribe to the strongest indict- 
ment which can be framed against the drink 
traffic as one of the greatest curses which 
afflicted our country and mankind to-day. 'It 
is probably true that the flagrant and obvious 
evils which are associated with drink have 

tended to give an exaggerated conception of 
the extent to which it is responsible, as a 
primary or isolated cause for the economic, 
physical, and moral condition of the people. 
The connection between drink and the ap- 
parent results is so close to the casual observer 
that it is little wonder the Drink Question 
should have been raised to the category of a 
special social evil — a first cause of many re- 
sultant evils, and therefore an evil capable of 
independent treatment. It will be one of the 
chief objects of this little work to endeavour 
to prove that the Drink Question is but one 
phase of the Social Problem ; that it cannot 
be completely solved apart from the treatment 
of the whole problem of the economic and 
social condition of the people ; that the Drink 
Evil is one of the forms — and perhaps, from 
many points of view, the gravest — of waste 
— economical, physical, mental, and moral — 
which is inherent in our present method of 
wealth production and ownership. 

The importance of the Drink Question must 
appeal to the Socialist for the same reasons 
which the questions of landlordism, capital- 
ism, competition, housing, education, appeal 
to him. The Socialist case for the collective 
control of land and wealth production, for 
the organisation of distribution, for better 
housing and better education, is based upon 
the social loss in material wealth, in know- 
ledge, in efficiency, in comfort, in health, and 

in morality which arises from the present 
system. The Drink Evil is perfectly analo- 
gous. One need not understand deeply the 
causes of the waste of commercial competi- 
tion, nor of bad housing, nor of the ignorance 
of the masses, to appreciate the social loss of 
wealth, of health, and of knowledge arising 
therefrom. In like manner, leaving for the 
moment the question of the cause of drinking, 
the Socialist will admit the economic, physical 
and moral loss to society from the existence 
of the drink traffic. 

As the economic aspects of the problem 
will demand extensive consideration at a later 
stage of our enquiry, we shall in this chapter 
consider briefly some of the physical, mental, 
and moral ravages of this form of Social 

Drink and Crime. 

In the ten years ending 1905 the number of 
prosecutions for drunkenness in England and 
Wales was 2,068,725, or an average of over 
200,000 a year. In 1906 there were over 
100,000 arrests for drunkenness in Scotland. 
These figures by no means express fully the 
extent to which drink employs our policemen, 
police courts, and judges, and fills our gaols 
and convict prisons. In addition to these 
prosecutions for simple drunkenness, many of 
the cases of assaults were the outcome of 
drinking. " Drunkenness is no doubt the 
cause of many crimes, and is the accompani- 

ment of many others."* This is the conclusion 
of Sir John Macdonell, Master of the Supreme 
Court, who edits the Report of Judicial 
Statistics. It is pointed out in his report that 
there are many persons drunk when taken into 
custody, but the charge of drunkenness is 
dropped because the persons are charged with 
more serious offences. In Manchester, in 1905, 
8,734 persons were drunk when arrested ; but 
of this number only 7,626 were proceeded 
against for being drunk and disorderly in the 
street, the other 1,108 having a more serious 
charge made against them. 

The figures of arrests for Drunkenness in 
one town (Liverpool) will help to convey an 
impression of the extent of the evil and the 
social waste of wealth and human life caused 
by it. 
Arrests for Drunkenness in Liverpool^ 


DAY OF THE w^k. 

1 90S 


Sunday . . 


Tuesday . . 



Friday . . 


. • • 








* Judicial statistics England and Wales, 1905, P« 
f Judicial statistics, 1906, pp. 29 and 30. 

A tabk giving the ages of the persons 
arrested, also relating to Liverpool, is instruc- 





Under 16 


i6to 21 



21 to 30 



30 to 40 



40 to 50 



50 to 60 



Over 60 



Police Court Magistrates, Judges, and 
Coroners, whose knowledge and experience 
entitle their opinions to respect, are unanimous 
in ascribing to, or associating drink with, 
much of the crime with which they have to 

Mr. Justice Granthamf says : — 
Now, apparently, all this is changed. I have lately 
been brought face to face for weeks with the conduct 
of publicans in the carrying on of their business, which 
has resulted in the most heartbreaking crimes it is pos- 
sible to imagine — husbands murdering their wives, 
wives their husbands, fathers their sons, friends their 
own best friends — all through the maddening influence 
of excessive drinking. 

Twelve murders, eighteen attempts at murder, and 
woundings without number that were just as likely 
to have ended in murder as far as the conduct of the 
criminal was concerned, have bfeen mine and my brother 
Judges' daily fare for the last four weeks in one 
circuit ; and, in almost every case, as appeared in 

* Judicial statistics, 1906, pp. 29 and 30. 
f Letter to Croydon Licensed Victuallers. 


evidence, drink was the cause— drink served by publi- 
cans and not at clubs, and drink proved to have been 
served in the public-house, where the man was openly 

Such testimony might be quoted without 
limit, but two other shortly expressed opinions 
shall suffice. Lord Chief Justice Coleridge 
said : — 

I can keep no terms with a vice that fills our gaols, 
that destroys the comfort of homes and the peace 
of families, and debases and brutalises the people of these 

Mr. Coroner Shepherd, of Gateshead, at an 
inquest he attended in June, 1907, said : — 

This is the fourth suicide to-day, and three out of 
four of these are, there is no doubt, due to drink. Drink, 
as far as I can see, appears to be at the bottom of these 
cases of suicide. 


The growing concensus of conviction in the 
medical profession that alcohol is an im- 
portant cause of physical degeneration, and 
that it causes many diseases, and aggravates 
others is a very impressive fact of recent 

The attacks by doctors upon drinking 
have become so general that the " trade " in 
the early part of 1907 felt it to be necessary 
to counteract the effect by endeavouring to 
obtain a manifesto that " the moderate use of 
alcoholic beverages is, for adults, usually 
beneficial/ ' signed by a number of well-known 
medical men.* The discreditable means 

* Lancet, March 30th, 1907. 

adopted to obtain the signatures were sub- 
sequently exposed, and many of the signa- 
tories deemed it necessary to explain that 
they had signed the document under a mis- 

We are not here concerned with the debat- 
able question as to whether the " moderate " 
use of alcohol as an " article of diet for adults 
is beneficial." There will still remain room 
for differences of opinion on this point when 
there is agreement that the extent to which 
alcohol is consumed by a large portion of our 
adult population is destructive of physical 
health. Upon this latter point there can be no 
two opinions. The facts of everyday life put 
that beyond the region of controversy. 
: But a few statements and statistics may be 
cited to show the extent to which alcohol is 
responsible for degeneration, disease, and 
death, and therefore the loss of social wealth. 
The Inter-Departmental Committee on Phys- 
ical Deterioration which sat in 1903, after 
examining sixty-eight witnesses, reported 
that :— 

The question of drink occupies a prominent place 
among the causes of degeneration. . . . The tendency 
of the evidence was to show that drinking habits among 
the women of the working classes are certainly growing 
with consequences extremely prejudicial to the care 
of the offspring, not to speak of the possibility of children 
being born permanently disabled. . . . The 

Lunacy figures, which were dealt with by Dr. Jones, 
show a large, and, in some cases, an increasing number 
of admissions of both sexes which are due to drink, 

and an increase of general paralysis among lunacy 
patients tells the same tale. ... A3 the result of the 
evidence laid before them, the committee are convinced 
that the abuse of alcoholic stimulants is a most potent 
and deadly agent of physical deterioration. 

So far back as 1887, a Committee of the 
British Medical Association enquired into 
" The Connection of Disease with Habits of 
Intemperance.' ' The Committee stated its 
conclusions to be as follows : — 

On the whole, then, in addition to the information 
that we obtain from these returns as to the alcoholic 
habits of the inhabitants of this country, and as to- 
the relative alcoholic habits of different occupations- 
and classes, we may not unfairly claim to have placed 
upon a basis of fact the following conclusions. 

1. That habitual indulgence in alcoholic liquors^ 
beyond the most moderate amounts has a distinct/ 
tendency to shorten life, the average shortening^ 
being roughly proportional to the degree of indul- .' 

2. That of men who have passed the age of twenty- 
five, the strictly temperate, on the average, live at 
least ten years longer than those who become decidedly 
intemperate. (We have not in these returns the means of 
coming to any conclusion as to the relative duration oi 
life of total abstainers and habitually temperate drinkers- 
of alcoholic liquors.) 

A recently published work* deals at length 
with the pre-natal and after effects of alcohol 
upon children. It is shown that the alcohol 
factor in the parents has influence upon the 
children in four great classes of mental dete- 
rioration, namely, (1) idiocy and imbecility, 

* Alcohol and the Human Body : Sir Victor Horsley 
and Dr. Mary Sturge. 

(2) epilepsy, (3) feeble-mindedness, (4) mental 
deficiency as shown in school-work. 

According to the authority of Drs. Shuttle- 
worth and Fletcher-Beach, parental alco- 
holism is a factor in 16 per cent, of the cases 
under their care at the Royal Albert and 
Darenth Asylum for Idiots and Imbeciles. 
Analysis of 2,380 of their histories shows that 
■consanguinity, consumption, epilepsy, mental 
disease, etc., in parents, form other factors, 
the history of intemperance being associated 
with one or more of these in the percentage 
above stated.* 

It is shown also that parental alcoholism 
disposes the offspring to epilepsy. Dr. W. C. 
Sullivan conducted an investigation which 
showed that of 219 children who had alco- 
holic mothers, 4.1 per cent, became epileptic, 
whereas in the general mass of the population 
the frequency of epilepsy averages below J 
per cent. Other writers have found that from 
12 to 15 per cent, of the surviving offspring of 
alcoholics become epileptic.f 

In view of the greater attention now being 
.given by educationalists to the treatment of 
the mentally deficient child, it is well to 
recognise the effect of alcohol as a factor in 
the causation of such deficiency. In 1901 a 
study of the mental deficiency of ordinary 
children was undertaken for the New York 

* Alcoholism and the Human Body, p. 321. 
t Ibid, p. 322. 

Academy of Medicine by Dr. MacNicholl. 
Fifty-five thousand school children were 
examined. Of these 58 per cent, were below 
the required standard of intelligence, 17 per 
cent, being actual " dullards/ ' 25 per cent. 
" very deficient," and the other 16 per cent, 
merely deficient. The habits of the parents 
with regard to alcohol is reported in 20,147 
cases : — 

Children of drinking parents . . . . . . . . 6624 

,, ,, reported dullards 5 3 p.c. 

Children of abstaining parents . . . . ..13523 

reported dullards 10 p.c. 

The family histories of 3,7*1 children were 
traced through three generations. This was 
done in great detail with regard to the taking 
of alcohol. Of the children of abstaining 
parents and abstaining grandparents, only 4 
per cent, were " dullards," whereas of the 
children of abstaining parents, but drinking 
grandparents, 78 per cent, were " dullards." 
Dividing the 3,711 children into two classes, 
the following results are noted : — 

(1) Of those free from hereditary alcoholic 

taint — 
96 per cent, were proficient, 
4 per cent, were dullards, 
18 per cent, suffered from some neurosis 

or organic disease. 

(2) Of those with hereditary alcoholic taint — 
23 per cent, were proficient, 

77 per cent, were dullards, 


76 per cent, suffered from neurosis or 
organic disease.* 

The terrible waste of child life is touching 
the public conscience. While sanitation and 
the growth of medical science have succeeded 
in reducing the general death-rate, the ap- 
palling mortality among infants has remained 
practically at the same rate for the last quarter 
of a century. There are many causes of this 
loss of infant life — bad housing, ignorance of 
mother, impure milk, poverty — but it is indis- 
putable that drink contributes considerably to 
the mortality. The effects of alcoholism in 
the parent show themselves in many ways 
upon the children. Professor Bunge, of Bale, 
has carried out prolonged investigations into 
the causes of the failure of mothers to suckle 
their children, and he makes this startling 
declaration"^ : — 

There are some cases, and these are not rare, where 
the mother, having been able to suckle, the daughter 
has not been able to do so. Here we are close 
to the causes of the incapacity, and shall find it in 


In 78 per cent, of these cases, in my statistics, the 
father is an immoderate drinker. On the other hand, 
in families where mothers and daughters can suckle 
their infants, drunkenness is rare ; in other words, 
that the daughter of a drunkard is in a position to be 
able to properly suckle her infant in a rare case. The 
rule is that, if the father is a drunkard, the daughter 
loses her power of suckling. 

* Medical Temperance Review, August, 1905. 
f Alcoholism and the Human Body, pp. 325-6. 


The spending of any part of the too inade- 
quate income of a working-class family upon 
drink deprives the mother, and, through her 
or directly, the child, of necessary food. The 
mother who drinks is careless and dirty, and 
her children are neglected. Overlaying of 
infants is a common cause of death. In 
London the mean annual number of deaths 
from overlaying is 612, and the majority of 
these cases occur on Saturday and Sunday 
nights — a fact which is obviously suggestive 
of the cause. 

Sir William Broadbent has said: "The 
worst of it is that for every child that dies, a 
dozen others are damaged." These "damaged" 
infant lives grow up physically and mentally 
incapable of fighting the battle of life. They 
become the " unemployables " of the labour 
market, the loafers of our streets, the inmates 
of our hospitals and prisons, and, instead of 
being a benefit to the community, they waste 
its wealth upon their maintenance and pro- 
pagate their own enfeebled species to be a 
burden on the next generation. Drink, as a 
factor in the physique of our population, is 
too influential to be ignored by the reformer. 

Further confirmation of the ravages of 
Drink, of its influence in wasting human life, 
is given in the statistics published by the 
Registrar General and by facts in connection 
with the experienced Insurance and Friendly 


In 1903 only 1,475 deaths of males and 
1,075 of females were returned as caused by 
alcoholism, and 3,916 deaths from cirrhosis of 
the liver, a disease known to be nearly always 
due to drink. These figures, according to Dr. 
Newsholme,* greatly understate the real 
number of deaths due to these causes, as it is 
common for the doctor, out of regard for 
the feelings of the relatives, not to assign this 
as the cause of death. Cancer and consump- 
tion are responsible for 134 out of every 1,000 
deaths recorded, and according to Dr. P. 
Bronardel, a great French physician, who 
spoke at the International Congress on Tuber- 
culosis in London in 1902, "Alcoholism is in 
fact the most powerful factor in the propaga- 
tion of tuberculosis . . . the returns of 
mortality from tuberculosis, and the drink 
bill of Prance exhibit a strange correspond-, 
ence." This view was supported by Dr. Koch, 
of Berlin, and Professor Sims Woodhead, of 

The experience of certain Insurance and 
Friendly Societies which separate abstainers 
from non-abstainers is often quoted, but it will 
bear repetition. 

* Elements of Vital Statistics. 


General Section. 





Abstainers' Section. 




United Kingdom 
Temperance and 
General Provident 
Institution (period 
41 years, 1866 to 

Spectre Life Associa 
tion period of 20 
years 1884 to 1906) 

Scottish Temperance 
Association (period 
20 years, 1883 to 









Abstainers' and 
General (period 23 
years 1884 to 1906) 













From the report of the Public Actuary of 
South Australia, Mr. H. Dillon Gouge, F.S.S., 
we give the following : — 

Average Rates. 

per cent 


Abstainers' Society Average . . 
Non- Abstainers' Society Average 



* Expected Deaths under H.M. Table of the Institute 
of Actuaries. 

t No figures published. 


These figures become the more striking 
when it is remembered that in the " non- 
abstainers " societies are many who are in 
fact abstainers. 

The experience of our own country bears 
out the same conclusions. 

On July 17th, 1896, the House of Commons 
ordered to be printed a special Report on the 
Sickness and Mortality experienced by the 
Registered Friendly Societies in the United 
Kingdom. When the mortality per cent, for 
all the Friendly Societies is compared with 
the figures for the Independent Order of 
Rechabites — an abstainers' society — it is seen 
that the latter society has a very great 


Drink, according to the Report of the 
Commissioners of Lunacy, is one of the chief 
causes of insanity. The figures for 1904 
assign intemperance as the cause of insanity 
in 227 per cent, of the male admissions 
during five years, and 9-4 of the female ; the 
rates for private patients being, males 167, 
females 8*6 ; and for pauper patients, males 
23*6, and females, 9*6. That drink and in- 
sanity are closely associated is shown by Dr. 
Jones,* the eminent authority on insanity, who 
records the fact that no less than 42 per cent, 
of all periodic inebriates relate a history of 

* Evidence before Physical Deterioration Com- 
mittee, Appendix XVI. 

either drink, insanity, or epilepsy in their 

To sum up our indictment of the drink 
traffic in relation to social waste we submit 
the foregoing facts to prove that the traffic 
is largely responsible for murder, suicide, 
immorality, and petty crimes ; it is poisoning 
the bodies of the children before they are born ; 
it sends thousands to the grave before they 
have learned to lisp ; it gives to tens of 
thousands who survive a shattered constitu- 
tion and weakened will ; it pre-disposes them 
to every form of illness ; it is destroying the 
capacity for motherhood, and weakening the 
natural instinct of the mother. It wastes all 
this human life, and it involves an incalculable 
loss of social wealth through physical in- 
efficiency, mental incapacity, and loss of self- 
respecting ambition. It wastes the value of 
lost time and expense through sickness, and 
the maintenance of prisons, police courts, 
homes, and asylums due to drink. Drink is, 
in fact, one of the most destructive evils, 
destroying mind and body, which curses the 
human race. 



Chapter II. 

The Temperance Movement. 

The origin of the beer drinking customs of 
the British people is lost in antiquity. Pytheus, 
the Greek navigator, who visited Britain 
330 B.C., tells in his journal that the inhabi- 
tants of these islands drank, instead of wine, 
a fermented liquor made from barley, which 
they called " curmi." 

" In the latter part of the fifteenth century 
English beer had gained a reputation on the 
continent and was much exported from 
England to Flanders. Wherever brewed, it 
was the favourite beverage of the people, who 
drank it without stint. ' Barley,' says a 
physician of this period, ' is the Englishman's 
vine.' It was a complaint heard more than once 
that more corn was malted than was eaten 
for food ; for the English, like the other 
nations of northern Europe, were known as 
great drunkards."* 

In the eighteenth century drunkenness 
among the upper classes of English Society 
was universal. The reading of the literature 

* Denton's England in the Fifteenth Century, p. 204. 

of that time leaves one in wonder at the 
amazing drinking capabilities of the wellr 
known people of that period. Nor was this 
drinking apparently considered at all 
reprehensible, but rather an accomplishment 
for admiration. Addison, Steele, Goldsmith, 
Parnell, Churchill, were all notoriously 
drunken, and Lord Bolingbroke, when in 
office, sat up whole nights drinking, and in 
the morning, would bind a wet napkin round 
his forehead and hasten away to his office. 
In the latter part of the eighteenth century 
English Society was soaked in drink, the 
heir-apparent leading the pace. Among the 
men of this period, Brinsley Sheridan, William 
Pitt, Lord Chancellor Eldon, Lord Stowell, 
and Professor Porson, could each empty the 
contents of six bottles at a sitting, and re- 
peatedly did so ! Sir Gilbert Elliott, writing 
in 1787 expresses his inability to conceive 
how the men of business and the great orators 
of the House of Commons continued to re- 
concile their inordinate consumption of liquor 
with their Parliamentary duties. 

The drunkenness of the upper classes — of 
royalty, aristocracy, and clergy — set the 
example to the masses. All the vices of the 
poor — even to their Toryism — have come 
down to them from the classes above. It was 
in the Reign of George I. that the habit of 
gin drinking took root, and " small as is the 
place which the fact occupies in English 


history, it was probably, if we considered all 
the consequences which have flowed from it, 
the most momentous event of the eighteenth 
century — incomparably more so than any 
event in the purely political or military annals 
of the country."* The masses of those days 
put as much enthusiasm into following 
the example of the upper classes as their 
descendants of to-day give to the aristocratic 
vices of gambling and immorality Distil- 
leries increased in number and taverns were 
opened everywhere to satisfy and encourage 
this new popular demand. 

When the Industrial Revolution came at 
the end of that century the masses were 
helpless before it. They were ignorant, 
without political power, and without under- 
standing of the meaning of the great economic 
changes going on. They xvete easy victims 
of the free play of competition under which 
the robust, clear headed men of the age worked 
the new possibilities of wealth production for 
their own individual gain. Inhuman con- 
ditions of labour, the destruction of the home 
industries, the driving of the people into the 
towns, the employment of children and 
women in the mines and factories, the break- 
ing up of the home, the degradation of the 
standard of the working class life by the 
sweeping away of the labour protection 
statutes, the crushing taxation of the poor, 

* Lecky History of England in the iSth Century, p. 479. 


the general ignorance of sanitary laws, the 
absence of any real municipal government, 
the general state of industrial and social chaos 
from which only a few found it possible to 
emerge successfully were pre-eminently a state 
of things calculated to feed the existing 
appetite for drink. The masses of the people 
in the industrial towns, physically enervated 
by their working and social conditions, turned 
more and more to drink as the only means 
within their knowledge of drowning their 

It is significant of some connection between 
the increase of drunkenness, or the recognition 
of the social evil of drunkenness, and the 
industrial condition of the people, that it was 
not until one generation had come under the in- 
fluence of the factory system that the drink 
question came to be considered so serious as 
to demand organised effort to combat its 
ravages. The first Temperance Society was 
formed in England in 1830, and since then 
there has been a sustained and widespread 
temperance work carried on in this country, 
which for the enthusiasm and devotion of 
those who have taken part in it has scarcely 
been equalled, and never surpassed, by any 
reform movement of the nineteenth century. 

The growth of temperance sentiment since 
1830 has been remarkable. When the work- 
ing men of Preston started their Teetotal 
Society they had no support from clergy, 


ministers, or doctors. In 1837 there were but 
100 abstinent ministers of religion ; there was 
no ecclesiastical dignitary favourable to the 
movement. There were but half-a-dozen 
known medical men who were abstainers, and 
every member of Parliament was a non- 
teetotaller. To-day there are 2,213 branches of 
the Church of England Temperance Society/ 
and two Archbishops, sixteen home and more 
colonial Bishops, and lesser dignitaries by the 
score are professed abstainers. The Noncon- 
formist ministers are, to a great extent, not 
only personally abstainers, but are active in 
temperance work. There is a British Medical 
Temperance Association, including a number 
of University professors; and recently 14,718 
medical men presented a petition to the 
Government of the day praying for temperance 
teaching in the schools. The Army and the 
Navy have their Temperance Societies, with 
which many thousands of men are associated. 
The House of Commons has come under the 
influence of the extending temperance senti- 
ment, and, to the old members of the House, the 
present Parliament's most remarkable feature 
is the large number of abstaining members 
and the temperance of the general body. Of 
the men elected on the 9th November, 1907, 
to occupy the honoured position of Mayor no 
less than 64 are proud to be known as total 
abstainers, and the abstaining Provosts of 
Scottish burghs number 46. The temperance 

bodies calculate that there are 3,000,000 adult 
persons in the country who are abstainers, and 
in the juvenile Bands of Hope, of which there 
are 22,000 societies, there are 3,000,000 chil- 
dren enrolled. 

These figures of the extent to which tem- 
perance sentiment and abstinence from drink 
prevail amongst all classes in the community 
are striking evidence of the public recogni- 
tion of the drink evil, and of the need for 
counteracting its ravages by personal example 
and associated effort. Instead of the teeto- 
taller being an object for pity or contempt, as 
was the case seventy years ago, the prevail- 
ing public sentiment is one of condemnation 
of drunkenness and respect for the total 


Chapter III. 
Labour Organisations and Drink. 

The progress of the Temperance sentiment 
described in the previous chapter has not been 
confined to the upper and middle classes. The 
temperance movement began among the 
workers. It seems to be the law for vice to 
descend from the so-called " upper " classes 
to the so-called " lower," and for virtue to 
begin among the masses and gradually to ascend 
to the " classes." There were in the dark 
days of the early nineteenth century many of 
the working classes who struggled bravely 
against the oppressive conditions of their 
industrial lot. The records of the political 
agitations of those days, of the beginnings of 
modern trade unionism and the co-operative 
and friendly societies, tell how a minority of 
the poor fought against adversity and suc- 
ceeded in preventing themselves from being 
completely debased by the conditions which 
the majority of their class found too strong 
to overcome. 

The history of the Labour movement in the 
nineteenth century shows a growing perception 
by the leaders of the working class emancipa- 


tion — the trade unions and the co-operators — 
of the causes of the people's poverty and of 
the obstacles hindering the advancement and 
unity of the workers. At the time when 
drinking, and even drunkenness were not con- 
sidered reprehensible, it could not be expected 
that Labour organisations would be un- 
influenced by popular custom. The records 
of the older trade unions give some interesting 
references to the drinking which was associated 
with the trade union meetings. Their lodge 
meetings were almost invariably held in public 
houses. Drinking was associated with all 
the functions and ceremonials of the union 
meetings. It was the custom of the block 
printers of Glasgow to exact a fee of seven 
guineas for each new apprentice, and this 
money was always straightway drunk by the 
men of the print field, the employer taking 
the head of the table, no work being done by 
any one until the fund was exhausted.* 

The same writers say : — f 

In the reports and financial statements of the 
Unions for the first half of the century, drink was one 
of the largest items of expenditure, express provision 
being made by the rules for the refreshment of the 
officers and members at all meetings. The rules of 
the London Society of Woolstaplers (1813) state that 
the president shall be accommodated with his own 
choice of liquors, wine only excepted. . . . The 
Friendly Society of Ironmoulders (1809) ordains that 
the Marshall shall distribute the beer round the 

* Webb's History of Trade Unionism, p. 66. 
t Ibid p. 67 and pp. 185-6. 


meeting impartially, members being forbidden to 
drink out of turn except the officers at the table or 
a member on his first coming to town. Even as late as 
1837 the rules of the Steam Engine Makers' Society 
direct one third of the weekly contribution to be spent 
in the refreshment of members, a provision which 
drops out in 1846. In that year the delegate meet- 
ing of the Ironmoulders prohibited drinking and 
smoking at its meetings, and followed up this self- 
denying ordinance by altering the rules of the Society 
so as to change the allowance of beer at branch meet- 
ing to its equivalent in money. ' We believe,' they 
declared, ' the business of the Society would be much 
better done were there no liquor allowance.* . . . By 
i860 most of the larger Societies had abolished all 
allowance for liquor, and some have even prohibited 
its consumption during business meetings. It is to 
be remembered that the Unions had, at first, no other 
meeting place than the club room, freely placed at 
their disposal by the publican, and that their payment 
for drink was of the nature of rqnt. Meanwhile the 
Compositors and Bookbinders were removing their 
headquarters from public-houses to offices of their 
own, and the Steam Engine Makers were allowing 
branches to hire rooms for meetings, so as to avoid 
temptation. In 1850 the Ironmoulders report that 
some publicans were refusing to lend rooms for meet- 
ings, owing to the growth of Temperance. 

The last words of the foregoing sentence 
are significant. They indicate the spread of 
temperance principles, which had been a 
feature of the whole trade union move- 
ment for some few years previous to that date 


The Co-operative movement began at a 
later period than trade unionism, and in its 
inception and early stages it benefited from 


the growing popular sentiment against in- 
temperance, which had been affecting the 
more active of the working classes. The 
Rochdale Pioneers, who were Owenites, 
Chartists and teetotallers, put forward as one 
of their objects, that for " the promotion of 
sobriety, a temperance hotel should be opened 
as soon as convenient/ ' The Co-operative 
movement has kept itself free from association 
with liquor, and this is all the more indicative 
of a strong belief in the ruinous character of 
drunkenness, when it is remembered how the 
sale of drink would have added to the dividends 
of the non-drinking membership. 

The growth of temperance sentiment in the 
working class movements continued, and 
within the last few years the Labour move- 
ment has taken an increasingly aggressive 
attitude against the drink traffic. As far back 
as 1893, nearly 200 Labour leaders, comprising 
all the most prominent trade unionists of that 
day, replied in a public manifesto to the charge 
that licensing legislation would interfere with 
the liberties of the working classes. Speaking 
of the Bill introduced in that year to establish 
the principle of " popular control/' they said 
that the opponents of that measure " profess 
to be intensely interested in the protection of 
the liberties of the working classes. It is a 
fraudulent profession. The liberty which most 
of them really desire to maintain is the liberty 
of privileged monopolists to exploit the work- 


ing classes, and to draw and suck from them 
their money by indirect means. ' Liberty of 
the people ! ' Could any cry be more absurd ? 
. . . As at least six-sevenths of all entitled 
to vote belong to what are called ' the poorer 
classes/ it is sheer mockery and insult of the 
monopolists to tell them that the measure 
will enable the rich to tyrannise over them." 
Trade Union officials have seen so much of 
the evils of drunkenness among the workers ; 
they have seen how drink so often frustrates 
their efforts to gain improvements ; they have 
seen how important it is that the leaders of 
the working men should have clear heads, and 
should set an example in sobriety and self- 
restraint, that the men appointed to the 
secretaryships of the great unions, within 
recent years, are almost without exception 
total abstainers. Every man who has occupied 
the chair of the Trade Union Congress for the 
last six years has been a total abstainer. Of 
the 30 Labour and Socialist members returned 
to Parliament at the election of 1906, the 
majority are total abstainers. 

When the Trade Union Congress met at 
Leeds in 1904, there was formed a " Trade 
Union and Labour Officials' Temperance 
Fellowship." In the three years of its existence 
this body has done good work in seeking to 
obtain facilities for the meetings of trade 
union lodges away from public houses. The 
Right Hon. Thomas Burt, speaking at one of 


the meetings of this Fellowship said that 
when he became secretary of the Northumber- 
land Miners' Association, forty-one years ago, 
nearly all the lodges of the union met in public 
houses, and although they had quadrupled the 
number of their branches, not a single lodge 
meeting was now held on licensed premises. 
Mr. A. H. Gill, M.P., the Secretary of the 
Bolton Cotton Spinners, at a meeting of the 
Fellowship held during the Congress at Bath, 
in 1907, made the even more remarkable 
statement that in his own society five years 
ago he believed every branch meeting was 
held at a public house, while now 30 per cent, 
of the meetings were held in places where no 
drink was sold. 

" I have known the time " said Mr. W. C. 
Steadman, M.P., the Secretary to the Trade 
Union Congress " when a resolution dealing 
with the Temperance Question was ruled out 
of order and cut off the Conference Agenda." 
Times have changed in Trade Unionism since 
then. At the Congress of 1906 a resolution 
was passed instructing the Committee to en- 
deavour to get from the Local Government 
Board facilities for Trade Union Meetings 
being held in the local Municipal rooms. The 
Labour Party, to which 1,000,000 Trade 
Unionists are affiliated, has on several occasions 
passed strong resolutions upon the Temperance 

At the London Conference in 1906 a resolu- 

tion in the following terms was carried by 
600,000 votes for, to 103,000 against. 

It being admitted by judges, magistrates, chief 
constables, poor law administrators, governors of 
gaols and lunatic asylums, ministers of religion of all 
denominations, and social workers generally, that the 
liquor traffic is a fruitful source of poverty, crime 
and lunacy, this conference is of opinion that the time 
has arrived when the workers of the nation should 
demand that a law be enacted giving the inhabitants 
of every locality the right to veto any application for 
either the renewal of existing licenses, or the granting 
of new ones, seeing that the public-houses are generally 
situated in thickly-populated working-class districts. 

Twelve months later the Conference at 
Belfast showed a further advance of opinion. 
The Chairman of the Congress (Mr. J. J. 
Stephenson, A.S.E.), in his Presidential Address 
said :— 

There is the Temperance question to settle. The 
Labour movement had every sympathy with legitimate 
Temperance reform. We expect no mercy from the 
brewers and the publicans, and we have no alliance 
with them. A sober nation is the best nation to solve 
its political problems. 

At a later stage of the Conference a resolu- 
tion in the following terms was carried with- 
out a division and with acclamation. 

That any measure of Temperance reform should 
confer upon localities full and unfettered power for 
dealing with the licensing question in accordance 
with local opinion. By this means localities should 
be enabled to — 

(a) Prohibit the sale of liquor within their boun- 
daries ; 

(b) Reduce the number of licenses and regulate the 
conditions under which they may be held ; and 

(c) If a locality decides that licenses are to be granted, 
to determine whether such licenses shall be 
under private or any form of public control. 

In the course of the debate upon this resolu- 
tion Mr. J as. Sexton, the General Secretary of 
the Dock Labourers' Union said, " There was 
nothing hampered the Labour Party more 
than the accursed drink. It was responsible 
for more degradation and ignorance than all 
the other enemies of the movement put to- 

The charge is often made against the 
Socialists that they ignore the importance of 
the Drink Curse, and relegate it to a mere 
trivial issue of the capitalistic system. The 
Independent Labour Party, which is the 
chief Socialist body in Britain, contains 
among its membership a larger proportion of 
abstainers than any other political organisa- 
tion in the country. Drink is sold in less 
than three per cent, of its clubs, and the Annual 
Conferences of the Party have passed resolu- 
tions deploring the association of drink even 
to this extent with the movement. The party 
has its Temperance programme, and the sub- 
ject of the legislative aspect of the question 
is frequently treated at its public meetings 
and debates. 

The continental Socialists are alive to the 
hindrance which drink is to the progress of 
Socialist ideas. For years the great leaders 
of Belgian, Swiss, and Austrian Socialism — 


M, Vandervelde, Dr. Otto Lang, and Dr. 
Vktor Adler have been energetic Temperance 
advocates, the first-named delivering a power- 
ful appeal for Temperance from the Socialist 
standpoint at the Seventh International Con- 
gress against Alcoholism at Paris. In 1903 
the Congress of the Austrian Socialist Party 
passed a resolution against alcoholism, and 
similar resolutions have been passed by Con- 
gresses of the Belgian, Scandinavian, Swiss 
and German Socialists. The German trade 
unions have repeatedly passed resolutions 
against drinking. The following is the text 
of the resolution on drinking passed at the 
German Socialist Congress at Essen in Sep- 
tember, 1907.* 

There is a rapidly growing sentiment against 
alcohol among the continental Socialists. 
The young men who are coming into the 
movement are mainly abstainers. This is 
due largely to the example of the leaders 
who lay great and constant stress upon the fact 
that the workers need all their powers in the 
fight for Socialism, and point out that alcohol 
diminishes the fighting power of the work- 
man, which is in the brain, for alcohol is a 
brain poison. There are Socialist Temper- 
ance Societies in Sweden, Germany, Austria 
and Belgium. Selling of alcohol in Socialist 
clubs is prohibited by resolution of the Con- 

* The full text ef the resolution, and of the Austrian 
resolution also is printed in Appendix I. 

gress, and this prohibition is generally recog- 
nised. The famous Maison du Peuple at 
Brussels sells tea, coffee, beer, wine, but no 
spirits. At the Workers' Congress at Brussels 
in 1907, an anti-alcohol resolution was passed, 
and a Bureau was instructed to gather informa- 
tion from the various countries as to the 
ravages of Drink, and this information was 
to be disseminated among the Socialists of the 
several nations. 

The first step to reform is an awakened 
conscience as to the need of reform. The next 
is an understanding of the nature of the problem 
to be treated. The facts given in this and 
the preceding chapter furnish evidence of 
the awakening of the public conscience and 
of the Labour andcSocialist movement to the 
need of dealing with the curse of intemperance. 


Chapter IV. 

Who Consumes the Drink? 

In his letter to the Times on National 
Expenditure on Drink for 1906 Dr. Dawson 
Burns says, " There is a greatly increasing 
number who seldom use any intoxicating 
liquor." These remarks are embodied in a 
statement that in the year 1906 the sum of 
£166,425,911 was spent on drink by some of 
the people of the United Kingdom. This 
represents an expenditure per head of the 
population of £3 16s. 3d. The corresponding 
figure for the year 1842 was £2 8s. 5f d. These 
figures apparently contradict the assumption 
that temperance has made great progress 
during the past sixty years. Contrasting the 
expenditure for 1906 with that of 1886 and 1896 
we find. Expenditure upon drink per head 
of the population : — 

1886 £3 6 10 

1896 £3 15 6 

19 06 £3 16 3 

Neither do these figures carry on their faces 
a confirmation of the claim that a " greatly 

increasing number seldom use any alcoholic 
liquor." But the facts set forth in the two 
preceding chapters and the statement of Dr. 
Dawson Burns are undoubtedly true notwith- 
standing. There arises, therefore, the difficult 
task of reconciling temperance progress and 
an increased expenditure upon liquor. 

In each of the years 1900-1905 the drink 
bill showed a successive reduction amounting 
in the aggregate to £21,759,286, or taking the 
increase of population into account, a reduc- 
tion of £33,844>554- 

The decline was arrested in 1906, but to 
such a small extent as not to warrant any 
conclusions therefrom. It is doubtful if we 
should be justified in concluding from the 
figures 1900-1905 that a decline had set in 
which was going to continue. A glance at 
the Drink Bill for each of the years since 1837 
makes one hesitate to come to such a con- 
clusion, even from the satisfactory figures of 
the six years, 1900-1905. The eight years, 
1879-1888, were years of rapid decrease in 
the Drink Bill, which brought down the ex- 
penditure per head from £4 4s. id. in 1877, to 
£3 6s. 8d. in 1888. 

The explanation of the apparent contra- 
dictions of more teetotallers and very moderate 
drinkers against an expenditure which is larger 
per head than sixty years ago is we think to 
some extent set forth by Mr. (now Sir) T. P* 
Whittaker, in his Economic Aspect of th& 

Drink Problem (p. 17) : — 

In my opinion the true explanation of what is con- 
sidered to be the greater sobriety of the people is to 
be found in another direction. There is more drink- 
ing now than there was sixty of eighty years ago. 
But it is of a different kind. It is more frequent and 
regular. There is less obvious intoxication, but there 
is more soaking. There is less reeling drunkenness, 
less evident excess, and, consequently, there are fewer 
cases in the police courts, and fewer guests under the 
dinner table. But, taking the year round, more liquor 
is swallowed. There have been great changes in 
manners and customs in this respect during the last 
hundred years, but they have not affected for the better 
the quantity consumed. Habitual drinking, continual 
and frequent, has taken the place of occasional bouts 
of brutal drunkenness. 

It is true, we believe, that drinking by 
those who do take liquor, is more frequent 
and regular, and this is the outcome of the 
changed conditions of employment. The 
discipline of the factory and workshop, a 
discipline which is every year getting more 
strict, tends to compel greater sobriety among 
the factory and workshop hands during work- 
ing hours. The practice of " breaking time," 
of keeping "St. Monday," has greatly 
diminished during the last twenty-five years as 
every employer of labour will bear testimony.* 
The conditions of present-day machine-using 
industries insist upon attendance during the 
fixed hours of work. Where work is not done 
on the premises of the employer, or where the 
workman can by the nature of his occupation 

* For further testimony on this point see Appendix II. 

to some extent regulate his hours, there is 
more opportunity for frequent libations. We 
believe that while drinking has declined 
among those who are under the discipline of 
the well organised industries., there has been 
a corresponding increase in the expenditure 
upon drink among the working and commercial- 
classes who have a freer disposal of their 
working hours. In support of this theory we 
may quote some figures which show how 
largely in recent years that class has grown- 
which has command of its own time and to 
which the temptations of drinking are open 
every hour of the day. 

In proportion to the population the number 
of persons employed in factories and workshops 
has been getting less for the past forty years. 
Indeed, in the trades where machinery is most 
extensively employed in production, the 
number of workers is actually less than was 
the case fifty years ago. The following figures, 
based on the census reports, are interesting : 

Persons occupied, 

including Employees 

and Dealers. 

Total Population. 


1 901 


1 901 

Boot & Shoe 





There has been a large increase in the 
number of persons employed in certain other 
occupations where the conditions of employ- 

ment demand unbroken attendance during 
working hours, namely, in the engineering 
and shipbuilding trades, the railways, tram- 
ways and mining. The building trade shows 
an increase of over fifty per cent, in the last 
fifty years, though this trade is not to anything 
like the same extent under the strict discipline 
as to regularity of attendance as are the factory 
and workshop trades. But taking those 
occupations which may be considered as 
coming within the category of the directly 
disciplined trades, we get approximately the 
following increases in the employees in the last 

fifty years : — 

Persons Employed. 

In 1851. In 1891. 

Mining, etc. .. .. 620,000 .. 906,541 

Engineering, etc. .. 1,000,000 .. 1,435,835 

Domestic Service .. 500,000 .. 1,641,154 

Railways, Tramways, &c. 400,000 . . 450,000 

2,520,000 .. 4,435.530 
If we add to this number the textile and 
boot and shoe trades, and the lesser factory 
and workshop industries, we may safely con- 
clude that 8,000,000, out of 14,000,000 occupied 
persons in the United Kingdom are working 
under the strict discipline of industrial direc- 
tion, and have no opportunities for drinking 
during working hours, and are liable to 
dismissal for absenting themselves from work 
to drink. 

Of the industrial population this is the sec- 
tion which probably is most temperate. It is 


when we consider the nature of the employ- 
ment of the remaining 6,000,000 that we find 
at least some plausible explanation of the 
apparent contradiction between increased 
general sobriety and an increased expenditure 
on drink. 

The number of persons employed in what 
are called in the North of England " the 
loose-end " occupations is increasing beyond 
the increase of any other class. Since 1861 
the total number of occupied persons has 
increased by 53 per cent., while the number of 
the " commercial " class has risen in the period 
by 150 per cent. ! Between 1891 and 1900 
the number of persons supposed to be earning 
a living as merchants, brokers, agents, factors, 
dealers, salesmen, buyers, commercial travel- 
lers, and othi^r " loose-end " occupations, ap- 
proximately increased 50 per cent. We have 
mentioned already the great increase in the 
number returned as belonging to the building 
trade, and there are other manual labour 
occupations where the discipline is easy, which 
show considerable increases also. We will 
now summarise* the numbers of the class 
with which we are now dealing : — 
Commercial . . . . . . . . . . 2,000,000 

Carmen and Waggoners and other Road 

Workers . . . . . . . . . . 500,000 

Building Trades .. .. .. .. 1,000,000 

Agriculture . . . . . . . . . . 2,000,000 

General Labourers . . . . . . . . 700,000 


Taking out of this list the agricultural 
workers, we see that all the rest have occupa- 
tions which bring them into constant contact 
with the temptations of the public-house and 
the social drinking customs which are respon- 
sible for so much senseless drinking. The 
nature of the occupations will not permit of 
protracted drinking, but, in the place of that, 
the practice is frequent single drinks, with the 
result that there is little gross intoxication, 
because the drinks do not follow each other 
in sufficiently rapid succession. 

There is greater sobriety, there is less drink 
consumed among the factory and workshop 
population, and the total expenditure on drink 
is maintained by the classes with leisure, or 
who have constant opportunities and tempta- 
tions to drink. The section whose occupations 
fall under the description of "commercial" 
probably consume more liquor per head than 
any other section of the community. 

The theory we have been endeavouring to 
establish is supported by the experience of the 
last few years. These have been years of 
great prosperity in the textile, iron, and coal 
trades. But there has been no increase in the 
consumption of drink. This fact, we submit, 
is a strong confirmation of the theory that the 
bulk of the expenditure on drink is made by 
the other sections to whom we have attri- 
buted it. Further confirmation is given by 
the statements in a letter from an excise 


supervisor at Leeds, which was read to the 
House of Commons by the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer on April 15th, 1905. Speaking of 
the way in which the factory and workshop 
people spend their Bank Holiday, he said : — 
Instead of spending their wages in public-houses 
they take advantage of cheap excursions. ... To 
verify certain statements I visited several licensed 
houses on August Bank Holiday and found them all 
practically empty. On visiting the railway station I 
noticed every excursion train was packed. Similar 
reports reach me from other places. 

If the theory we have tried to establish is 
sound, it will have an important bearing upon 
proposals of temperance reform. 

There is one other painful explanation 
which is put forward to account in some 
measure for the sustained expenditure upon 
drink, namely, the increase of drinking among 
women. It seems to be universally accepted 
as a fact that such is the case. Statistics 
certainly appear to support the statement. 


1876-81 1881-85 1886-9O 189I-95 1896-99 

Males .... 60 66 74 86 100 

Females ..24 31 40 50 60 

In twenty-three years there has been an 
increase of 150 per cent, for females. 

In 1907 a White Paper was presented to 
Parliament giving information obtained from 
certain police forces as to the Frequenting of 
Public Houses by Women and Children. The 


report gives some appalling facts. We append 
a summary of the returns. 






Number of 

Women and 



Ags ok Children . 




I .. 






Nearly all under six, re- 
mainder under eleven • 
1849 undtr 5^ 






75 In arms, rest under a . 






1 164 In arms rest under 16 

Manchester . . 





6471 under 5, 






All under 6. 

The causes of the increased drinking among 
women are somewhat obscure. The sale of 
drink by grocers is frequently ascribed as a 
reason. We would suggest that the tendencies 
of modern industry have some bearing upon 
the matter. The number of women who have 
to struggle against men in the labour market 
for a living is rapidly growing. In 1901 there 
were nearly three millions of women and 
girls working in industrial occupations other 
than domestic service. In so far as industrial 
conditions are responsible for drinking among 
men, it will follow that when women are 
subjected to the same influences and tempta- 
tions they are likely to do the same. Super- 
stitions linger longer among women, and the 

value of alcohol as a restorative, which 
formerly was so generally believed, is still 
widespread among them. Women, from physio- 
logical causes, are mor subject to nervous 
diseases, an I when th:ir conditions of life 
are unhealthy, and the temptations of drink 
are before them, there is the probability they 
may succumb to the temptation. 


Chapter V* 
The Causes of Drinking. 

To diagnose accurately a case is more 
difficult than to know how to treat it success- 
fully. Similar symptoms may arise from a 
variety of causes, and the same cause may 
give rise to a variety of symptoms. The 
elaborate and intricate interplay of causes 
and of cause and effect has also to be con- 
sidered. In social questions especially, there 
is an intimate connection all round, and in no 
one instance can treatment be successfully 
applied without regard to the relation of the 
particular case to other industrial and social 

Since the Temperance movement began 
there has been wonderful progress made in 
what we may call the scientific method of 
treating social questions. The empirical and 
revolutionary ways of treating effects have 
been superseded by the diagnostic and 
evolutionary methods. Seventy years of added 
experience of the working of the capitalist 
system have taught us much of its character, 
its tendencies, and its effects. The discovery 

of the law of evolution has modified former* 
ideas, and the experience of attempts to stamp 
out one evil only to find another rising in its 
place has taught us that the hydra-headed 
monster we call the Social Problem is not to 
be destroyed by cutting off its heads one by 

The ideals held, in the early days of the 
Temperance agitation both of the character 
of the drink evil and of the treatment of it, are 
well expressed in the objects of the United 
Kingdom Alliance, namely, " total abstinence 
for the individual and prohibition for the State." 
The simplicity of this method of abolishing 
drunkenness and drink was due to the belief 
that the only cause of drinking was the ex- 
istence of the facilities to drink. It indicates a 
faith in the power of the individual to resist 
the influence of drink, or failing that, it demands 
the removal of the temptation, when apparently 
the desire for drink will disappear. If the 
problem were so simple as that we should be 
much nearer the teetotal millennium than 
we are to-day. 

The advantages and benefits of personal 
abstinence are so obvious that if there were 
not some strong reason why people drink, 
one would think that abstinence " for the 
individual " would be the universal rule. It is 
not enough to offer the common excuse that 
people drink "because they like it." This 
only gets us to the further question, "Why do 

4 6 
people like drink?" The liking for drink is 
not a natural one, but an acquired one. 
Once begun, the practice of taking alcohol is 
continued in moderation under the belief that 
it warms, comforts, refreshes and benefits. 
Like all drugs, it creates an appetite for itself ; 
the habit of drinking becomes confirmed ; it 
becomes master of the man. Men " like it " 
because it gives the pleasure of satisfaction — 
but not of a natural but an artificial desire. 

So long as the people live unnatural lives, 
they will have unnatural cravings — excessive 
tea drinking, the taste for highly seasoned foods, 
gambling, love of sensationalism, all arise 
from the same causes as the desire and liking 
for alcohol. It is because they are causes of 
drinking apart from the presence of the public 
house that the appeal for total abstinence for 
the individual has not obtained greater response. 
So long as this craving for exhilaration and 
[ restoratives exists, it will find some other way 
of satisfaction if it cannot be gratified by 

It is because there are causes of the 
drink appetite which have rendered the appeal 
to the individual so often ineffective, and this 
is also responsible for the failure to realise the 
second part of the Alliance's object. 
Prohibition by the State must depend upon 
the will of the people in a democratic country, 
and it cannot be expected that the persons 
who refuse to apply prohibition in their 

individual capacity will be willing as citizens 
to impose it upon themselves and all others. 

We must get deeper than the mere presence 
of the public house to find the causes of drink- 
ing. The influences which drive men to 
drink are many and varied. When Socialist 
propaganda first boldly attacked the position 
of the orthodox teetotallers, and, if the whole 
truth must be told, somewhat rudely and 
without qualification, reversed the theory 
of the cause of poverty by denying that 
poverty was caused by drinking and asserting 
that poverty was the cause of drinking, the 
temperance party, being human after all and 
therefore liable to intemperance — with equal 
audacity maintained that poverty had nothing 
at all to do with causing drunkenness. But 
time has brought both parties to recognise 
that there is a sufficient foundation of truth 
in each contention to excuse each party 
having, without full investigation, raised its 
contention to the dignity of an explanatory 

So long as the Temperance Party and 
Socialists were in direct conflict, each refusing 
to concede anything of the other's contention, 
there was a regrettable weakening of effort 
both for temperance and social reform work. 
The Socialist looked upon Temperance work 
as useless, as a mere cutting of the weeds or 
covering of the sores. " Capitalism, not 
drink, is the enemy. It is no use trying to 


make men sober. It cannot be done so long 
as wage slavery exists. If it could, it would 
but make men more profitable machines for 
exploitation. We may lessen drinking by 
bettering the conditions of labour and life, 
but direct temperance reform is useless and 
wasted effort." When the Socialist attitude 
to the drink question was stated in such a 
repulsive way as that and when so much time 
was spent by Socialists in demonstrating that 
total abstinence would tend to lower wages, 
and generally in a way which left the impression 
that men should drink to keep up wages, it is 
no wonder that the men who knew the awful 
daily devastation wrought by the drink traffic 
refused to concede that anything could be 
more important than abolishing this evil. 

Each party has now modified its attitude, 
and each recognises the essential claim of the 
other's position, namely, that while there is an 
intimate connection between poverty and 
drink, and that while poverty causes drinking, 
drinking aggravates poverty and in many 
individual cases is the cause of it. 

But much of the criticism to which the 
Socialist contention that poverty is the main 
cause of drinking is subjected shows an 
ignorance of what Socialists mean by poverty 
in this connection. Even the Right Hon. 
John Burns, whose former intimate acquaint- 
ance with Socialist phraseology ought to have 
saved him from committing the error, puts 

upon the word the very narrowest construc- 
tion. In his Raper-Lees lecture, Labour 
and Drink* he spends a considerable time 
in endeavouring to shake the theory that 
poverty causes drinking. He points to instances 
where a rise of wages has been followed by 
increased drunkenness and more criminal dis- 
order, and to cases where wages are low and 
sobriety general. But if the right hon. gentle- 
man had taken the trouble to understand the 
theory he endeavoured to disprove he would 
have spared himself much labour in collecting 
extracts, and would have saved himself from 
the humiliation of attempting, but signally fail- 
ing, to disprove a theory which he immediately 
afterwards accepted and made the basis of 
his proposals of temperance reform. 

No Socialist limits the meaning of the word 
poverty to the amount of wages a person 
receives. By poverty is meant low wages in 
so far as they are inadequate to provide for 
the satisfaction of healthy wants, but included 
in the meaning of the word are the conditions 
under which the wage is earned — long 
hours, insanitary conditions, exhausting and 
mechanical toil — bad housing, bad food, bad 
cooking, lack of home comforts — often 
through the wife working — lack of education, 
an inability to take an interest in elevating 
things or healthy pastimes, the worry and 

* Pages 12, 13, and 14. 

uncertainty and struggle of present day life. 
By poverty as a factor in the drink question 
Socialists mean the results of commercialism 
and competition upon the lives of the people. 

The statistics and facts given in the lecture 
by Mr. John Burns, for the purpose of proving 
that poverty does not cause drinking, prove 
the very opposite with overwhelming force. 
The figures are given as to the arrests for 
drunkenness in Liverpool in each day of the 
week, and . the particulars as to the occupa- 
tions of the persons arrested. Quite naturally 
the busiest time for policemen is the week-end, 
and, as one would expect, 1,905 out of 2,694 
cases of drunkenness are labourers, sailors, 
firemen, and carters. Three-quarters of the 
persons arrested belong to the very poorest, 
hardest-worked and worst treated classes of 
the community. Why should this class, 
though small in proportion to the total popu- 
lation of the city furnish three-quarters of the 
cases of drunkenness ? The right hon. gentle- 
man says " these facts go to prove that 
possession of means causes drunkenness." If 
the possession of " means " is responsible for 
driving the labourer to drink, why does not 
the possession of larger means drive other 
classes to drink in equal proportions ? The 
lecturer himself supplies the answer and at 
the same time demolishes his own contention. 
" Surely this proves," he says, " that the people 
perish for lack of knowledge, absence of self- 

respect, lowness of aim, the fewness of their 
wants, the sordid level of their appetites. " 
And this is what Socialists mean by poverty. 

To reply to the contention that poverty 
causes drinking, by pointing to instances 
where men with high wages drink, and to 
others where men with low wages are sober, 
is no valid answer. It is not so much the 
money amount of the wages as the conditions 
under which the wage is earned and the out- 
side opportunities and associations of the 
individual. If a man or a class " lack know- 
ledge, self-respect and loftiness of aim," the 
higher the wages of their labour, the more 
they will spend in satisfying their " sordid 
appetites." It is precisely what one would 
expect, that times of good trade and higher 
wages are characterised by an increased ex- 
penditure upon drink. The higher wages 
have come, but the wisdom to spend them 
wisely has lingered, and the increase of wages 
is too often spent in ways which injure rather 
than bless. The cause is poverty — poverty 
of knowledge. 

It should be remembered, too, that the 
higher wages earned under good trade are- , 
obtained at the cost of greater effort, and the 
working hours are often longer and the 
intensity of the strain greater* This leads to 
greater physical exhaustion, and to drink for 
stimulation. The cause is poverty — poverty 
of leisure, poverty of knowledge. 

Opposites often produce similar results. 
Too much work brings physical exhaustion, 
and weakens the moral strength, produces, 
in short, a state where the individual falls an 
easy prey to temptations to drink. Too little 
work encourages laziness, weakens the 
moral force, and produces a similar condition 
to that just described. Nothing is more 
speedily destructive of effort to rise superior 
to one's condition than the apparent hope- 
lessness of success. The instability and 
irregularity of employment in these days, 
which affect more or less the whole of our 
wage-earning population, are responsible for 
the loss of much of the self-respect and lack 
of ambition which characterise so many of 
the masses. Nine-tenths of the wage-earning 
population are working on engagements 
which may be terminated at a week's, a day's, 
an hour's notice. The average working man 
has in grim fact " no abiding city here." 

The influences which under the general term 
of poverty we have described as tending to 
cause drinking, are by no means confined in 
their operation to the wage-earning class. 
Every section of the community, from the 
richest to the poorest, are influenced in their 
lives, characters, tastes, vices, and indulgences 
by the spirit of the age. Very often it is 
pointed out, as a score against the contention 
that poverty causes drink, that the middle- 
classes and the rich also drink, though they 

are not poor. There never was an age in 
which riches were the associate of poverty to 
the extent to which they are in our own. 
" The bankrupt century " Carlyle called the 
nineteenth century. Yes, bankrupt in idealism, 
in morality, in its valuation of human life, 
and in conception of everything which makes 
a nation great. " The great cry which rises 
from all our manufacturing cities, louder than 
their furnace blast, is in very deed for this, — 
that we manufacture everything there except 
men ; we blanch cotton, and strengthen steel, 
and refine sugar, and shape pottery ; but to 
brighten, strengthen, to refine, or to form 
a single living spirit, never enters into our 
estimate of advantages/'* In this sordid age 
of materialism when not alone do the 
labourer, the fireman, the sailor, and the 
carter lack a lofty ideal, poverty curses the 
rich equally as it destroys the poor. 

The anxiety and worry of business, its in- 
creasingly speculative and risky character, 
the hurry and anxiety to get rich, are un- 
nerving our commercial classes and driving 
them to drink and suicide. The rich upper 
classes are as enervated and demoralised by 
idleness and luxury as are the middle classes 
by worry and hurry and the workers by the 
conditions of their existence. The influences 
which are responsible for drinking among 
the upper and middle classes arise from the 

* Ruskin : Nature of Gothic, p. 15. 

same root causes as the influences which 
encourage the masses to drink. 

It is scarcely necessary to qualify the fore- 
going statements by mentioning that not all 
the individuals who compose the respective 
classes fall under the influences which others 
do not or cannot resist. It is perfectly true 
that very many men of all classes, business 
men with heavy responsibilities, and workmen 
who toil .hard and long for small wages do not 
fall victims to drink. Every man's environ- 
ment is a combination of innumerable in- 
fluences — some degrading, some exalting. Every 
man varies in the strength of his power to 
resist and to select. An open sewer is a 
possible source of infection to a whole village, 
but only a few fall victims to smallpox or 
typhoid. A disease attacks and overcomes 
those who are constitutionally most suscep- 
tible. So with the drink craving. In the 
conditions of modern life, drink is a danger 
to everybody, but it is a blessed thing that 
there are counter influences which in so many 
cases save men from its allurements. 


Chapter VI. 

Social Conditions and Drinking. 

The Socialist contention that industrial and 
social conditions have much to do with the 
drinking habits of the people is now very 
generally accepted. Medical men, Royal 
Commissioners, social workers, housing re- 
formers, educationalists, labour leaders— -all 
admit that drink and poverty, in the wide 
sense of the word, are intimately associated. 

The Right Hon. John Burns,* after expend- 
ing much effort to deny the connection 
between poverty and drink, indicts a number 
of industrial occupations as " liquor-cursed 
trades." " All dusty, dirty, disagreeable occu- 
pations that are carried on in hot places," he 
says, " predispose to drink. . . . Can you 
wonder at them flying to drink ? Let the 
Rev. R. J. Campbell, or the Archbishop of 
Canterbury," he continues, " work in a black 
ash shed, in a dilapidated hovel, in a stink- 
house yard, next door to a railway arch, with 
a bone factory next door and a guano factory 
over the way, and they would both become 
chronic dipsomaniacs." 

* Lees-Raper Lecture. 

The deplorable increase of drinking among 
women — with its terrible consequences upon 
child-life and the future of the race — is attri- 
buted, to a considerable extent, to working 
and home conditions. Sir Lauder Brunton, 
physician at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, 
speaking at the Conference on Child Mortality,* 
said : — 

j Why do mothers go to the public house ? A penny- 
worth of gin means much more to the mother than 
mere gin. In many cases it means light and warmth 
; that the mother cannot get in her own poor house. 
How are we to supply this want so that we shall not 
do the mothers and children harm by excluding them 
from the public houses ? Let us supply them with 
places where they can go and get for a penny warm 
cocoa or coffee and a bit of bread with the warmth 
they desire. . . .The mothers must have a more 
decent home life, and live in more sanitary surroundings. 

Dr. Sheridan Delepine, Director of the 
Public Health Laboratory, Manchester, also 
declares his conviction that the home life 
of the poor wife is in cases responsible for 

The curse of drink is not confined to the public house, 

it follows the mother to her miserable home 

A poor woman with a large family in the midst of 
sordid poverty, from which there seems no possible 
escape, must ultimately lose hope for better things, 
become reckless in her actions as a drowning man in 
his movements. 

Medical testimony of a similar nature could 

* Tribune, March 4th, 1907. 
t Ibid. 

be quoted without limit, all going to prove 
it is the conviction of the men who, by train- 
ing and the experience of their daily work, 
are qualified to be heard on this question — 
that the poverty and sordid conditions, and 
ignorance, strongly pre-dispose to drink among 
women. Industrial conditions are also res- 
ponsible for the increase of drinking among 
women. The Report of the Departmental 
Committee on Physical Deterioration* states 
that in Nottingham, where so many women 
are employed in lace factories, twice as many 
women as men are received into the Asylum 
whose insanity is ascribed to drink. 

Whatever conditions, whether they be in 
the factory or workshop, in the home or in 
the surroundings, which tend to enfeeble the 
health of the people, encourage indulgence in 
drink. The ill-nurtured child which survives 
to manhood has a constitution which is in- 
capable of offering resistance to disease, and 
to temptation to indulgence.! The housing 
and insanitary surroundings of a large pro- 
portion of our population necessarily have the 
effect of impairing the vitality oi this part of 
our race. A report presented to the Liverpool 
City Council on January 14th, 1904, pointed 

* Report par. 170. 

t People who have not food enough turn to drink to 
satisfy their cravings, and also to support their en- 
feebled hearts by alcohol. Dr. Niven, Physical 
Deterioration Report, p. 30. 

out that, while the general death-rate for the 
city is about 22 per 1,000 per annum, in 
certain areas the rate rises to 63 per 1,000, 
and in another case even to 83. The Report of 
the Medical Officer to the London County 
Council for 1903 draws attention to the wide 
disparity between the health of two areas 
within the county. He says : — 

Comparing males in the two communities, out of 
1,000 born in Southwark, 326 die before reaching five 
years of age ; while in Hampstead, out of 1,000 born, 
only 189 die before reaching the age of five years. 
Again, out of a 1,000 children aged five in Southwark, 
40 die before reaching the age of 15 ; while in Hamp- 
stead the corresponding number is 24. At ages 25-45, 
when probably, so far as the community is concerned, 
the economic value of life is at a maximum, the differ- 
ences in the two communities is most marked. Thug, 
of 1,000 males aged 25 living in Southwark, 236 die 
before reaching the age of 45 years ; while the cor- 
responding figure for Hampstead is only 125. 

The explanation of the difference in mor- 
tality is to be found in the fact that in South- 
wark over 70 per cent, of the population were 
living in small tenements, while in Hampstead 
less than 30 per cent, were so housed ; in 
Southwark nearly 10 per cent, were housed 
in one-roomed tenements, while in Hampstead 
this proportion was only 2 per cent. In 
Finsbury, where the population of one-roomed 
tenements is 14,516, the death-rate per 1,000 
in 1903 was 38-9, yet the rate among occupants 
of four rooms, or more, was only 56. 


The Royal Commission on Housing pointed 
out the connection between bad housing and 
drink. They said that the evils of drink, over- 
crowding and poverty, act and re-act on each 
other. Lord Shaftesbury said (Report p. 15) 
" I am certain the people who are in that 
condition have been made so by the condition 
of the houses in which they live." 

The Committee on Physical Deterioration, 
quoting from Booth's Life and Labour in 
London say, " Drink is fostered by bad 
houses ; crowded homes send men to the 
public-house ; crowding [is] the main cause of 
drink and vice." Dr. T. W. Hime, formerly 
Medical Officer of Health for the City of 
Bradford, in a lecture on the Housing question 
delivered on November 27th, 1896, said : — 

He had no doubt that thousands of slum dwellers 
resorted to the use of stimulants to brace themselves 
up in a morning, because under the conditions under 
which they lived they had not been able to obtain 
a sufficiently refreshing sleep ; and he urged that it 
could scarcely be a matter for surprise that they should 
prefer the comfort of the public house to their own 
homes. If those who were richer and better edu- 
cated were exposed to a tithe of the temptations of 
these poor people, we should find probably that they 
offered less resistance to these temptations. The 
wonder was that under these conditions the poor pre- 
served their virtues to the extent they did. 

The evil of bad housing and insanitation is 
not confined to the towns, but it is working 
ruin and driving to drink in the less thickly 
populated areas. A very striking description 

of the state of a colliery village in Co. Durham 
is quoted* by Mr. Fred Topham, who is Agent 
to the United Kingdom Alliance for the North 
Eastern district, and who is the most orthodox 
of temperance men : — 

The first thing that strikes one in viewing Chop- 
well is that such a splendid opportunity should have 
been lost of creating a model village. Chopwell is 
a modern colliery village, set amidst most beautiful sur- 
roundings. Civilisation has toiled on through the 
ages, and offers this as her latest contribution to pro- 
gress ! Squalor prevails everywhere ; the streets are 
a disgrace — in truth, being little better than bogs. 
Decent people can with difficulty live there and 
remain decent, being placed alongside of degenerate 
neighbours, and witnessing rows and disgusting affrays 
nightly in the streets. 

No one takes an interest in the place ; it is left 
to work out its own salvation alone. There is no 
social life, few amusements of any worth. Amidst 
such lack of interest and squalor, it is not surprising 
that the miner finds his Mecca in the large ' Chopwell 
Hotel.' Friday night is one vast orgy ; money is liter- 
ally thrown about. The great difficulty is to find 
change for the gold sovereigns, of which I am told 
£270 are changed on a single pay night. The street 
reeks of beer. 

Though the town is placed high up in a beautiful 
airy country, the health bill is deplorable ; consump- 
tion is frequent, typhoid seldom absent, large numbers 
always on the sick list. Excuses are vain. As a 
product of modern civilisation, where the most favour- 
able conditions were afforded, it stands condemned. 

The Housing conditions in Co. Durham are 
notoriously bad, both in the colliery villages 

* Public House Trusts, p. 26. 

and in the large towns. The county of 
Glamorgan has an equally bad pre-eminence. 
It is instructive to compare the convictions 
for drunkenness in these two counties with the 
figures for the North Riding of Yorkshire and 
Devonshire, two adjacent counties : — 

Convictions for 

Drunkenness per 

10,000 of population 

Durham — 

County Petty Sessional Divisions . . . . 115 

Yorkshire, North Riding — 

County Petty Sessional Divisions . . . . 38 

Glamorgan — 

County Petty Sessional Division (including 

two small Boroughs) . . . . . . . . 164 

Devonshire — 

County Petty Sessional Divisions ... . . 27 

To emphasise further the connection between 
Housing and Intemperance we have compiled 
the following table showing the proportion 
of convictions for drunkenness and the per- 
centage of overcrowding in the following 
towns : — 

Total number of 
persons overcrowded 

Percentage of 
total population 


for drunkenness 

per 10,000 of 

of population 

Sunderland . . 43,976 



Newcastle .... 65,605 



Tynemouth . . 15,777 



Gateshead 37.957 



Cardiff 7,052 



The number of convictions for drunkenness 
per 10,000 of •population in 1906 for England 
and Wales was 6n8. 


Speaking at the Summer Assizes at York in 
July, 1905, Mr. Justice Grantham said : — 

Unless the people who belong to the working classes 
live in decent homes, how can you be surprised that they 
give way to the passion for drink ? It is the only re- 
creation which they have practically from the wretched 
hovels only too many of them have to live in, and pass 
their time. Then the drink excites them — pleasurably 
excites them — and they don't know when to stop. 
They have no homes really worthy of the name to go to, 
when they leave the public house, so they generally stop 
till closing time, when they have had a great deal more 
than it is good for them. 

In view of these appalling facts none surely 
will dispute the conclusion of a recent Depart- 
mental Committee that " Every step gained 
towards the solution of the Housing problem 
is something won for sobriety."* 

In spite of all that has been done by Factory 
Legislation to improve working conditions, 
causes very prejudicial to health still remain 
in connection with most of our manufacturing 
trades. For no other occupation, perhaps, has 
legislation done so much as for the cotton 
workers. Yet of the effects of employment in 
this trade upon young boys and girls of 
fourteen who have probably been bred in 
unwholesome surroundings and fed on un- 
natural food, Mr. Wilson, H.M. Inspector of 
Factories, says: — f 

The hours f will be long, fifty-five per week, and the 
atmosphere he breathes very confined, perchance also 

* Report, Physical Degeneration, p, 33. 
f Ibid., p. 76. 


dusty. Employment of this character, especially if 
carried on in high temperatures, rarely fosters growth 
and development ; the stunted child elongates slightly 
in time, but remains very thin, loses colour, the muscles 
remain small, especially those of the upper limbs, 
the legs are inclined to become bowed, more particu- 
larly if heavy weights have to be habitually carried, 
the arch of the foot flattens, and the teeth decay rapidly, 
. . . . The girls exhibit the same shortness of 
stature, the same miserable development, and they 
possess the same sallow cheeks and carcous teeth* 
I have also observed that at an age when girls brought 
up under wholesome conditions usually possess a luxur- 
iant growth of hair, these factory girls have a scanty 
crop which, when tied back, is simply a whisp, or ' rat's 

Here again we are permitting conditions 
to prevail which enervate the body and pre- 
dispose to drink and vice. 

But if in such a trade as that just mentioned, 
physical degeneration is caused and a pre- 
disposition to drink created, what must be the 
effect of working in other occupations where 
the conditions are infinitely worse. There is 
a close connection between the degree of 
drinking and the exhausting nature of an 
occupation. The greater the strain and in- 
tensity of the work, the more, it is found, 
intemperance prevails. The United States 
Labour Commissioner has published some 
figures giving the percentage of wages spent 
on drink by the workers in different occupa- 
tions in this country and in America. From 
this we find that the percentage of wages thus 
spent for the four trades, cotton, woollen, iron. 


and glass, is lowest in the woollen ; the cotton 
comes next, being a little higher ; the iron 
trade is ioo per cent, above the woollen ; and 
the glass trade is 40 per cent, above the high 
proportion attributed to the iron workers. 
Every person acquainted with the character 
of the respective occupations will recognise 
the approximation of the expenditure upon 
drink to the strain of the work. 

From that impressive series of articles deal- 
ing with the conditions of labour in the 
" white slave " trades, we take the following 
terrible confession.* Dr. Bellew, the leading 
doctor in Widnes, says : — 

It. would not be wise to pass a chemical worker 
at the ordinary rate for Life Assurance. The work 
certainly shortens life. For one thing, the men can- 
not do their work unless they are half drunk. They 
drink and drink. I have one patient who drinks half 
a cask (18 gallons) of beer a week. They drink because 
they cannot eat. I know men who have brought their 
breakfasts, dinners, and teas, back home with them 
from their work because they could not touch them. 

There remains no need to call further 
evidence to prove that the surroundings, the 
houses, the lives, and the labours of the people 
are fruitful causes of intemperance. Drink 
finds its victims in every grade of society, but 
it is among the lowly of the land that its 
ravages are most devastating. The poor have 
few interests and fewer pleasures. Their lives 
are dull, dreary, and monotonous. Their 

* White Slaves of England, Sherrard. 

poverty is in very truth their destruction. The 
drink question is inextricably intertwined 
with all the questions which aim at the 
elimination of the social waste of human 
health, of human life, of labour and of wealth. 


Chapter VII. 

Other Causes of Drinking. 

In the foregoing chapters we have been 
endeavouring to prove that poverty, in the 
sense in which we have denned the term is 
the most important cause of drinking. But 
in attaching so much importance to con- 
ditions of life and labour as bearing on the 
drink question we have no desire to mini- 
mise the influence of other contributory 
causes. When trying to find an explanation 
for the apparent contradiction between the 
generally accepted opinion that temperance 
sentiment has been growing while the Drink 
Bill has been increasing, we suggested that 
the reason was to be found in the changed 
character of the occupations of a considerable 
portion of the working population, whereby 
they are under less supervision and discipline, 
and more constantly open to the temptations 
of the public-house and the invitations of their 
acquaintances to cement the bond of good- 

Much drinking is for no other reason than 
that it is supposed to be sociable to spend * 

6 7 
one's money in paying for drink for a friend 
who neither needs nor desires It. Drinking, 
as a social custom, and not because those who 
drink like the drink or are unable to resist 
it, is responsible for a vast amount of money 
spent upon it. Man is a social animal, and 
drinking alcohol with his fellows is one of 
the unfortunate ways in which the social 
spirit has found expression. This phase of 
the drink question is not only responsible 
for an enormous and altogether wasteful ex- 
penditure upon drink, but it is often the 
cause of bringing men and women to ruin by 
creating a desire for drink or rousing in them 
some hitherto dormant hereditary disposition. 
A. third, and very important, cause of 
df hiking; and especially of excessive drink-* 
ing and frequent tippling arises from the 
opportunity, or as we should prefer to put it, 
the encouragement to drink by the oppor- 
tunities provided. There are those who will 
put themselves to any trouble or inconvenience 
to get drink, but it is undoubtedly true that 
the great body of moderate drinkers would 
never feel the loss of drink if it were removed 
from their path, and certainly would not put 
themselves to much inconvenience to get it. 
But the presence of the public-house every- 
where is a perpetual invitation to thoughtlessly 
indulge in drink ; and the business of the pub- 
lican is to encourage his customers to support 
his trade. 

Broadly speaking then, an enquiry into the 
drink question reveals the fact that it is in 
its causes and its effects exceedingly complex ; 
but there are certain outstanding features 
which enable us to form conclusions as to the 
nature of the disease and the conditions and 
causes and influences which pre-dispose to 
drinking. These have been dealt with under 
the three divisions of (i) conditions as to life 
and labour, (2) social customs, (3) the encour- 
agement offered by the existence of the trade. 

The treatment of the question must be in 
accordance with this diagnosis. As the 
causes of drinking are many and varied, so 
the remedies applied must be numerous and 
diverse. That drinking which is due to the 
first-named cause is not likely to be easily 
abolished. To effect that result involves a 
revolution of our industrial and social system. 
It involves the destruction of that monopoly 
in the means of life which enables a few to 
amass riches at the expense and degradation 
and poverty of the many. It involves a 
changed ideal in our political life, and a new 
conception of the nature of wealth. It re- 
quires the political life of the nation to be 
enthused with a religious determination to 
use the powers of law-making and of govern- 
ment to ensure a full opportunity to every 
child to develop its physical and mental 
possibilities. And this involves the parental 
care of the State in protecting the child from 

the disastrous influences which to-day damn 
millions of infants from the moment of their 
birth ; and it involves, too, a belief and 
practice that the first use of wealth should be 
to ensure for each a sufficiency of all the 
things which go to make the abundant life. 
It involves an appreciation of the whole 
problem of social waste, waste of wealth pro- 
ducing power, waste through misapplied 
labour, waste through misdirection and un- 
equal distribution of wealth, waste through 
lack of organisation, waste through keeping 
ignorant and inefficient the masses who have 
infinite possibilities for goodness and great- 
ness. This part of the drink question will 
settle itself as the conditions of life and 
labour which give rise to drinking are 
changed ; and the work to this end which is 
immediately practicable and desirable will be 
discussed at a later stage of this enquiry. 

The second of the important factors in the 
drink question lies within the legitimate 
sphere of the work of the Temperance 
societies, the teacher, and the preacher who 
should aim at disseminating a more general 
knowledge of the foolishness of senseless 
drinking, and at substituting more reason- 
able ideas of expressing the feeling of fellow- 

The third contributory cause of drinking 
is within the sphere of legislation and admin- 
istration. By direct action in removing 

opportunities and encouragements undoubtedly 
a large volume of drinking which is not due 
to deep-seated causes will be eliminated. 


Chapter VIII. 
Social Reform and Temperance. 

In dealing with the industrial and social 
conditions of the people as a cause of drinking 
we specially emphasised (i) low wages, (2) 
long hours, (3) casual work and unemploy- 
ment, (4) insanitary housing, (5) ignorance of 
hygiene, (6) lack of education, (7) absence of 
interest in elevating things. We pointed out 
the close connection between the extent to 
which these conditions existed in any industry 
or district, and the degree of drunkenness 
which prevailed. If this connection has been 
established, then it becomes the duty of every- 
one who wants to lessen drunkenness to be 
active in the forefront of social reform work. 

The average income of the working class 
family is not sufficient, however wisely it may 
be spent, to provide a sufficiency of good 
food, of good clothing, and of house accom- 
modation, with other such absolute necessaries 
as fire and furniture. Wages are too low to 
rear healthy children upon. Out of a single 
wage of a pound or twenty-five shillings a 
week, with a family to support, it is impos- 


sible to pay a rent of eight or ten shillings a 
week, which is the least sum for which a 
house in a decent neighbourhood, with suffi- 
cient accommodation for a family, can be 
obtained in most of our large towns and 
cities. Low wages compel the family to live 
in an overcrowded condition in a neighbour- 
hood which is insanitary because of its over- 
crowded state. The result of the combination 
—overcrowding and insufficient nourishment 
— is to starve the children, who grow up to 
swell the army of industrial inefficients and 
unemployables and the victims of the drink 
The State has recognised the necessity and 
the wisdom of insisting upon a minimum of 
sanitation in factories and workshops. To 
preserve the health of the individuals, because 
of the loss of wealth-producing power through 
inefficiency and ill-health, we have had the 
innumerable statutes regulating hours and 
conditions of labour. Outside the workshop, 
and due to the same appreciation of the waste 
caused by neglecting to apply knowledge to 
prevent disease, we have the Public Health 
Acts, the Food Adulteration laws, the hospitals 
and dispensaries for the treatment of disease 
at the public expense. But not yet have we 
applied this principle where it is most needed, 
and where the benefits would be greatest. 
We insist upon the factory worker, in the 
interests of his health, having a certain amount 

of air space. But we take no thought as to 
whether he. is being paid a wage which will 
enable him to get enough food to sustain 
him, or a home in which he can rest and be 
restored. And yet this is a matter which 
comes in ord<r of importance before those 
to which we have given some attention. A 
State, alive to the importance of saving 
waste, of getting the best and most out of its 
material, would lay down that the first charge 
upon all production was a wage which would 
in no case be below a sum adequate to main- 
tain the worker and his dependents in a state 
of health and comfort. This would be found 
to be a policy of highly remunerative social 
economy. What is humanely right can never 
be economically unsound, and the economy of 
high wages, even from the employers' point of 
view, which is not always that of society, is 
now being increasingly recognised. 

The demand for a shorter working day by 
law can be defended on many grounds, but by 
no means the least important of the arguments 
in its favour is that its adoption would result 
in a great improvement in the character of 
the workers. All experience supports this 
optimistic expectation. Each reduction in 
the hours of labour in the textile trades has 
been followed by a spontaneous rise in the 
standard of life of the operatives. The latest 
reduction of hours in this trade — the twelve 
o'clock Saturday stop — has been of enormous 

benefit. In fine weather advantage is taken 
of cheap excursions, and the general use of 
the cycle on a Saturday afternoon is seen in 
the crowded state of the roads giving 
exit from the manufacturing towns in the 
north. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, 
speaking in the House of Commons on April 
15th, 1905, referred to the fact that the great 
boom in the cotton trade has not, as former 
booms in the trade had, increased the 
consumption of drink. If the Chancellor had 
had a sufficient knowledge of facts, he would 
have been able to add that the operation of the 
twelve o'clock stop, the giving of more leisure 
to the workers which they had wisely 
employed, was one of the main reasons for the 
fact he stated. 

There is a point at which a reduction in the 
working day might not have such satisfactory 
results. A cutting off of but a very little from 
the end of a long day of very hard work 
would probably lead to increased drinking, 
for the workmen would leave work in an ex- 
hausted state and incapable of the effort to take 
'up any new pastime except sitting in a public 
house. The important thing to remember is 
that the hours of labour should not be so long 
as to completely tire the workman, and the 
leisure left between ceasing work and bed- 
time should be so long as to be worth the 
effort to turn to some interesting pastime or 
recreation. This is the secret of the great 

success of the twelve o'clock Saturday stop. 
The operatives have had a short day, they 
leave work comparatively fresh, and by the 
time they are washed and dressed the whole 
afternoon is still before them. 

Striking confirmation of this argument is 
furnished by Mr. John Rae,* who, in an article 
on the effects of the general adoption of the 
Eight Hours Day in Australia, says that 
largely as a result of the Eight Hours Day 
there is growing up in Australia a working 
class population which for intelligence and 
sobriety have no equals among the Anglo- 
Saxon race, and the like of which has never 
been seen in the world before. He mentions 
the very significant fact that the people who 
oppose the Shorter Day in Australia are the 
publicans, for they have discovered that when 
a man leaves work not completely exhausted, 
but with a little vitality left, he has no desire 
to spend his time sitting in a public house, 
but feels impelled to take some outdoor 
recreation or to engage in some intellectual 

We might multiply similar testimony, but 
we will be content to give but two or three 
other exceedingly valuable testimonies to the 
usefulness of a reduction in the hours of labour 
in promoting temperance reform.f 

* Economic Journal, May, 1901. 
t Further evidence of the effect of the shorter hours on 
sobriety is given in Appendix III. 

The following valuable testimony is taken 
from a report issued by the Society for 
promoting Industry and Trade in Russia, 
extracts from which appeared in the Labour 
Gazette for March, 1906. It relates to an 
experimental reduction of the working day from 
twelve to eight hours in a paper mill at Dobrush 
in the province of Moghilev. The Manager, 
Dr. Stulchinsky, writes as follows on the 
results of the working of this experiment for 
a year and a half : — 

I have been managing Prince Paslrievitch's mill 
for twenty years. The nature of the business requires 
that the work be carried on night and day. Up to 
May, 1894, the length of the shifts was 12 hours. Eigh- 
teen months ago I determined to try and reduce the 
hours of those working by the day to 9, and of those 
employed on shifts to 8. Instead of increased drinking 
by the workmen, the result has been that the only 
drink-shop in the place has had to give up business, its 
place being taken by a tea-shop, where only moderate 
quantities of spirits can be obtained. ' Saint Monday ' 
is almost a thing of the past. The older people, as a 
rule, employ their leisure time in tilling their plot of 
land, which they formerly let on lease. The younger 
ones have taken to reading. An orchestral and vocal 
union has been established, of which 36 factory opera- 
tives are members. Between 400 and 500 operatives 
regularly attend lectures got up by the local priest. 
Such things were impossible under the whole 12 hours 
system ; for there is only one recreation for exhausted 
workers and that is spirit drinking, which quickly stimu- 
lates their energies. 

The irregularity of work and the frequent 
periods of total unemployment have a de- 
moralising effect upon the character of the 

men affected. All who have been brought 
into touch with the unemployed have been 
painfully impressed by the rapid deterioration 
of moral strength and self-respect which a 
period of want of work develops in the 
formerly respectable workman. It is quite 
natural that a man who feels that society 
cares so little about him that it is content to 
let him starve, will soon get into a frame of 
mind in which he cares not what society 
thinks of him. He feels that he is a social out- 
cast, a useless cumberer of the earth. Human 
help and human sympathy are denied to him, 
and it is not to be wondered that he finds 
comfort and forgetfulness in drink. 

Irregular employment is almost equally de- 
structive and demoralising in its effects. In 
the intervals between intermittent work the 
casual is open to every temptation to drink. 
He is enfeebled in body by insufficiency of 
food, and when the luck of a few days' work 
comes round again he feels the need for a 
stimulant, which he ignorantly tries to find 
in drink. 

Work for the unemployed; the better 
organisation of labour, so that workmen may 
settle into regular and steady habits, are 
temperance reforms of the first magnitude. 
Intimately bound up in this question of the 
better organisation of labour is that of system- 
atic overtime, which is economically unsound, 
physically injurious, and morally debasing. 


The facts given in a previous chapter bear- 
ing on the relation between housing and 
intemperance are *a powerful appeal to the 
temperance reformer to lend the weight of his 
support to the municipal reformer, who is 
agitating to sweep away the disease-haunted, 
drink-sodden slum, and to provide habitations 
in which it is possible for human beings to 
be self-respecting, healthy, and sober. 

From an unexpected quarter confirmation 
of the effect of better housing on sobriety was 
given at the meeting of the Bath Brewery 
Company by the Chairman (Colonel H. F. 
Clutterbuck), October 14th, 1904. Speaking 
of the decrease of drinking, he said : — 

He thought himself that it was partly due perhaps 
to the fact that the nation was growing more sober . . . 
and also he thought it was largely due to the better 
housing of the working clas3. A man now-a-days in- 
stead of going home to a dirty, untidy cottage, full 
of children in one room, found that his house was 
more comfortable. 

It is indisputable that the ignorance of the 
working classes about health matters, food, 
and the rearing of children is responsible for 
much of the physical degeneracy which in its 
turn leads to drinking. One of the painful 
things about working class family life is that, 
small and inadequate as the income is how- 
ever well laid out, the income is often so 
expended as not to give the best results. The 
respective values of different kinds of food is 
unknown to them, as, far too often, is a know- 

ledge of how to prepare the food. Infant 
mortality, as is proved beyond doubt, is due 
as much to wrong feeding as to the lack of 
food. Instead of homely, health-giving foods 
forming the staple of the workers' fare, highly 
seasoned, " appetising,' ' prepared foods are 
consumed, which ruin the digestion, provoke 
thirst, and drive to drink. 

The class of house which is to-day being 
erected for respectable working class families 
is only possible because of the ignorance of 
the people who are to inhabit them as to the 
conditions of health. If the people were educa- 
ted to know what is the minimum of air space 
necessary for health, we should not have the 
bye-laws of the Public Health Authority 
satisfied with but two-thirds of the air-space 
for the honest worker which is insisted upon 
for the criminal in our gaols. 

A knowledge of the laws of health is the 
greatest educational need of our age. Some 
part of that time which is now given in our 
schools to teaching the ancient mythologies, and 
learning the tricks of figures and the meaning 
of words might be far more profitably de- 
voted to teaching the boys and girls — the 
citizens of to-morrow — how to keep their 
bodies healthy and pure ; and to preparing ; 
the girls for the great responsibility of mother- 
hood, a responsibility which comes upon them 
to-day and finds them in most cases totally 
ignorant of how to_discharge it. 


There still survives much ignorant super- 
stition about the virtue and value of alcohol. 
Temperance teaching from a temperance plat- 
form has two grave defects. It is given to the 
people who do not require conversion, and if 
it reaches the ear of the sinner it fails to strike 
conviction because of the prejudice against its 
source. The teaching of temperance, of the 
truth about alcohol, should be the work, not 
of a voluntary body, but of the State, which 
pays so heavily for the prevailing ignorance 
upon the question. 

The request for such teaching as a part of 
the school curriculum was put before the Board 
of Education in 1904 in a petition signed by 
14,718 medical men. After calling attention 
to what has been achieved in this direction 
by English-speaking nations, in regard to the 
teaching of the nature and effects of alcohol in 
the Army schools and in some of the principal 
colonies, the petitioners state that a wide- 
spread ignorance prevails concerning, not only 
the nature and properties of alcohol, but also 
its effects on the body and the mind. They, 
therefore, urged the central education authori- 
ties to include in the simple hygienic teaching 
desired, elementary instruction at an early age 
on the nature and effects of alcohol. They 
also urged the necessity of ensuring that the 
training of all teachers shall include adequate 
instruction in these subjects. 

Such regular and systematic teaching would 


do much to save the next generation from 
drink. Not much, it is to be feared, but some- 
thing might be done on the same lines for the 
present generation of adults by the Public 
Health departments regarding alcoholism as 
a danger as great as typhoid, and taking 
equally drastic steps to arrest its ravages. 
The sporadic posting of a few placards point- 
ing out the dangers of alcohol is not enough. 
The placards posted by more than a hundred 
cities and boroughs in 1905 were excellent, 
but the effect was lost when the first shower 
of rain washed them from the hoardings.* 
The warning needs to be as constantly before 
the eyes as the temptation to take the drink. 

Not merely is knowledge of the laws of 
health involved in the temperance question, 
but the whole subject of education too. The 
man without education is on the level of 
the brute ; his appetites and tastes will be 
those of the brute. The ignorant, uneducated 
man has such a limited number of interests 
that drink can easily claim him for its own. 
The spread of education, with its widening 
of outlook and increase of interests, will do 
great things for Temperance Reform. Educa- 
tion must accompany increased power and 
enlarged opportunities, or better not the 
power, better not the opportunity. In the 
extension of real education — the drawing out 

*Newcastle-on-Tyne, with a population of 264,000, 
posted 100 placards on the posting stations. 


of the best — we shall be substituting for the 
low taste, which now finds gratification in 
the pothouse and the sensuous pleasures of 
the cup, a love of " things which are more 

The social instinct is eternally implanted in 
the human breast. It will find some means 
of expression. For lack of something better, 
the public-house has become the centre of 
social intercourse. An increase in the number 
of things in which a man is interested will 
reduce both the amount of time he can spend 
in the public-house, and his inclination to do 
it. The provision of other centres of social 
intercourse of a less objectionable character 
would also withdraw men from the publichouse. 
The institution of the " two turns a night " 
music-hall with cheap charges, it is said, has 
affected the public-houses most disastrously 
from the brewers' point of view. The enter- 
tainment of a cheap music-hall may not be 
the most ideal and intellectual of pastimes, 
but it is infinitely preferable to the public- 
house; and the person who begins his musical 
education with the popular song may by and 
by attain to an appreciation of the classical 

The keener interest in politics taken by the 
working classes, which is shown in the re- 
markable progress of the Labour and Socialist 
movement, will have a beneficial effect upon 
Temperance. The Socialist movement is not 

only absorbing the spare time of a great 
many working men, but its propaganda is 
providing a counter attraction to the public- 
house. It is within the knowledge of the 
writer that thousands of men in the aggregate 
attend the Sunday evening Socialist meetings 
who formerly spent those evenings in the 
public-house. The interest in social ques- 
tions which is aroused thereby has a transiorm- 
ing influence on the man ; he has found a new 
and inspiring purpose for his spare activities, 
and this gives him an ideal of the seriousness 
of life which is inconsistent with the waste of 
his time in drinking. 

In the same way the great working class 
organisations — the trade unions, the co-opera- 
tive societies, the friendly societies — have done 
much, by increasing the interests and activi- 
ties of working men, to counteract the in- 
fluence of the public-house. It is unnecessary 
to further pursue this argument. Its sound- 
ness is obvious, its truth is proved by univer- 
sal experience. 

Two witnesses to support the contentions 
urged in this chapter may be called. In Jan- 
uary, 1903, Mr. Justice Lawrence had a maiden 
Assize at Huntingdon, and in remarking upon 
this he said that he looked to good air, pure 
water, effective drainage, sanitary houses, and 
reasonable amusements to improve the drink- 
ing habits of the people more than repres- 
sive legislation. A witness giving evidence 



before the Committee on Small Holdings in 
1906 said : 

The relieving officer has on more than one occasion 
informed me that there is not now a single able-bodied 
man receiving out-door relief, and the Superintendent of 
Police, some years ago, in his report for Quarter Sessions, 
stated that, in his opinion, the decrease in drunkenness 
was attributable to the spread of allotments and small 
holdings around CatshilL 

Social Reform is the most effective Tem- 
perance Reform. To make our country 
sober, we must make its people free. The 
reforms outlined in this chapter are only 
palliatives, but they are palliatives which 
will so improve the physical and mental state 
of the workers that the social revolution will 
be much more speedily realised. 


Chapter IX. 

Drink and Economic Poverty. 

If one ventures to state that drink is not 
the chief cause of poverty, one is sure to be 
charged from certain quarters with a desire 
to minimise the evils of intemperance, with 
being an aider and abettor of brewers, and 
a friend of publicans and sinners. To many 
well-meaning people, the whole social pro* 
blem resolves itself into one word — Drink. 
The economic teaching of the Socialists has 
compelled the teetotallers of the type men- 
tioned to moderate their statements when 
closely pressed ; but the frequency with which 
one still meets the dogma in temperance 
literature and speeches shows that the belief 
is still widely held and propagated. 

In the Alliance Almanac for 1908, Sir 
George White writes : — " If the working 
classes of this country spent (in drink) only 
at the same rate as the same classes in 
America and Germany, £50,000,000 would be 
saved from the drink traffic, and be trans- 
ferred to useful branches of industry, find- 
ing full employment for at least two millions 
extra people, and thus give occupation to 
all capable of working." 

One of the most moderate of Tem- 
perance writers* states the case in words 
which fairly express the opinion of the general 
body of the Temperance party. He says, 
" The common sale and consumption of 
alcoholic drink — apart from all other evils of 
intemperance — is by far the most potent 


Even such a well-informed social student 
as Sir T. P. Whittaker has committed himself 
to a statement very similar. He says :f 

How is it we have all this poverty, misery, disease, 
and death ? Drink and Drinking is responsible for a very 
large proportion of it. It is the chief cause. Directly 
or indirectly it is responsible for the greater part of the 
poverty, crime, incompetence, sickness, and early death, 
which afflict the great mass of our poorer classes. 

It is with real regret that one is compelled 
to expose the error and absurdity of the 
claim that drink is the chief cause of poverty. 
One would earnestly wish that the industrial 
and social evils that exist could be traced 
to such a simple cause. The work of the 
social reformer would be indeed simplified if 
by the suppression of drinking the problem 
of poverty could be solved. 

In preceding chapters we have dealt at 
length with the causes of drinking, proving 
that poverty in the wide sense of the term 
is one of the most fruitful causes. But we 
have never attempted to deny that drinking 

* J. Stewart Gavin, Alliance News, March 26th, 1897. 
t Economics of Drink, p. 52. 

was a cause of poverty in individual cases, 
nor that it did not in a great many others 
aggravate poverty. Socialists have no desire 
to minimise the economic evils of drinking ; 
what they do protest against is the false 
assumption that the poverty of the workers 
is caused by their drinking habits, and that 
if it were not for their expenditure upon 
drink their economic poverty would not 

The testimony of Mr. John Burns on this 
point is so telling, and is expressed in such 
forceful and picturesque language, that we 
must reproduce it. He says : — * 

They lie in their teeth when they say that the un- 
employed are drunken and improvident. Here 
stand I, a skilled artisan, a teetotaller, a vegetarian, 
a Malthusian, a non-smoker. I have been out of 
work for four months. I haven't tasted food for 
twenty-four hours. There stands my wife. She 
has turned the ribbons of her bonnet over and over 
again to make them look respectable. If this be my 
condition, what must it be for men who are not me- 
chanics and have families to maintain. 

The conclusions of Mr. Charles Booth and 
Mr. Rowntree have been so often quoted 
that they are generally known, but it may 
be useful to repeat them for the sake of 

The figures Mr. Charles Booth gives relate 
to some 4,000 cases, 1,600 belonging to the 
" very poor " and 2,400 to " the poor." Of 
the " very poor " 

* Daily Chronicle, November 22nd, 1885. 


4 per cent, were loafers. 

14 per cent, were due to drink and thriftlessness. 
27 per cent, were due to large families, illness, etc. 
55 per cent, to questions of employment. 

Of the " poor" 

13 per cent, due to drink and thriftlessness. 
19 per cent, due to large families, illness, etc. 
68 per cent, to " unemployment." 

In explanation of these figures Mr. Booth 
says : " To those who look upon drink as the 
source of all evil, the position it here holds 
as accounting for only 14 per cent, of the 
poverty in the East End, may seem altogether 
insufficient ; but I may remind them that it 
is only as principal cause that it is here con- 
sidered ; as a contributory cause it would, no 
doubt, be connected with a much larger pro- 

Mr. Seebohm Rowntree gives us the 
following results of his investigations into 
the causes of poverty in York. 

Definition : Earnings insufficient to obtain mini- 
mum necessaries for physical efficiency. 

Cause. Number. 

Death of chief bread-winner 1,130 

Illness or old age 370 

Out-of-work 167 

Chronic irregularity of work 205 

Largeness of family 1,602 

Lowness of wage 3*75^ 

In addition to these 7,230 living in " pri- 
mary " poverty, as defined above, Mr. Rown- 
tree found 13,072 persons living in "secon- 
dary " poverty. Secondary poverty is defined 


as that of families whose total earnings 
would be sufficient for the maintenance of 
merely physical efficiency were no part of 
them absorbed by other expenditure, either 
useful or wasteful. As to " secondary " 
poverty in York, Mr. Rowntree gives the 
following as " immediate causes ": 

Drink, betting, and gambling, ignorant or care- 
less housekeeping, and other improvident expenditure, 
the latter often induced by irregularity of income. 

And, as to the first causes, he says : 

Though we speak of the above causes as those mainly 
accounting for most of the " secondary " poverty, 
it must not be forgotten that they are themselves often 
the outcome of the adverse conditions under which too 
many of the working classes live. Housed for the 
most part in sordid streets, frequently under over- 
crowded and unhealthy conditions, compelled very 
often to earn their bread by monotonous and laborious 
work, and unable, partly through limited education, 
and partly through overtime, and other causes of phy- 
sical exhaustion, to enjoy intellectual recreation, what 
wonder that many of these people fall a ready prey to 
the publican and the bookmaker ? 

Professor A. G. Warner has collected the 
reports of trained investigators in England, 
Germany, and America, and he makes the 
following summary of their conclusions : 

Probably nothing in the tables of the causes of poverty, 
as ascertained by cold counting, will more surprise the 
average reader than the fact that intemperance is 
held to be the chief cause in only one-fifteenth 
to one - fifth of the cases ; and that where an 
attempt is made to learn in how many cases it 

had a contributory influence its presence cannot be 
traced at all in more than 28*1 per cent, of the cases. 

If Mr. Charles Booth seeks to imply that 
14 per cent, of his investigated cases are in 
poverty entirely through intemperance then 
we oin issue with him. But he does not 
maintain, so far as we can gather, that even 
in the cases where he assigns Drink as the 
cause of the poverty, that abstinence would 
raise the family above the poverty line. Mr. 
Rowntree, at any rate, makes no such bold 
assertion in regard to York. The rule in 
these investigations seems to have been to 
put down Drink as a cause wherever it was 
found that some portion of the family in- 
come was spent upon it. If a considerable 
portion of the income of a poor family is 
spent in drink it certainly aggravates their 
poverty ; but this foolish expenditure of a 
too small income is not the cause of the 
poverty. The family would still be poor if 
they were teetotallers. 

But even if it were granted that 14 per cent, 
of the poverty of the poor is due to drinking, 
and that if these people were temperate they 
would be raised out of poverty — a contention 
which we by no means admit — it is evident that 
the statement that total abstinence would carry 
with it the virtual abolition of poverty is 
a wild exaggeration. 

In the report of the Royal Commission 
on the Aged Poor issued in 1895, Mr. Cham- 
berlain, Mr. Ritchie, Dr. Hunter, Mr. Charles 


Booth, and Sir H. Maxwell made the following 
statement : 

We also agree that the imputation that old age 
pauperism is mainly due to drink, idleness, improvi- 
dence, and the like causes, applies to but a very small 
proportion of the working-class population. 

When teetotallers talk about drink being 
the cause of poverty it is charitable to sup- 
pose that by poverty they mean a condition 
below that of ordinary respectable working 
class life. But if this be so, if their idea of 
the abolition of poverty is the raising of 
those who are below up to the standard 
of the thrifty artisans, with, say, a family 
income, economically spent, of thirty 
shillings a week, then their ideas of poverty 
and those of the Socialists are widely differ- 
ent. But to attain even to that state of 
working-class affluence would require an 
improvement enormously vaster than the 
Temperance people imagine. Taking Sir 
George White's statement, quoted al/ove, 
where he says that the transfer of 
£50,000,000 a year from the drink bill io 
other channels of employment wouM fifi'l 
work for two millions extra workj/eoj/J*, 
it appears that, assuming every penny of ih\% 
went in wages, these extra people wouj/l 
receive less than 10s- a week per hea/J, 'Mm 
payment of a wage of le» than v*, '* w»k 
for useful work is the Tempera*^ pw '*y'* 
ideal solution of the problems of poverty mA 

The Temperance party estimate that the 
average annual expenditure on intoxicants 
by those of the working classes who drink 
is £17 14s. 2d. per family. Sir T. P. 
Whittaker, commenting on this waste, says, 
" What a difference would £17 14s. 2d. per 
family make if properly and prudently 
spent." Quite true; but seven shillings a 
week per family does not make the difference 
between poverty and a desirable standard of 

Those who maintain that drink is the main 
cause of poverty know little of the extent 
of poverty. Mr. Booth states that 307 per 
cent, of the whole population of London 
are on or below the poverty line of incomes 
not exceeding one guinea a week per 
family. Mr. Rowntree found that the 
average wage for the labourer in York is 
from 18s. to 21s. a week, whereas the mini- 
mum expenditure necessary to maintain, 
in a state of physical efficiency, a family of 
two adults and three children, is 21s. 8d. 
" The wages," he says, " paid for unskilled 
labour in York are insufficient to provide 
food, shelter and clothing adequate to main- 
tain a family of moderate size in a state of 
bare physical efficiency, no allowance being 
made for any expenditure other than that 
absolutely required for the maintenance of 
merely physical efficiency." 

Speaking at Perth on June 5th, 1903, Sir 


H. Campbell-Bannerman said: — 

In this country we know — thanks to the patient 
and scientific investigations of Mr. Rowntree and 
Mr. Charles Booth, both in different fields and by different 
methods, but arriving at the same results, which has 
never been questioned — we know that there is about 
30 per cent, of our population under-fed, on the verge of 
hunger, doubtful day by day of the sufficiency of their' 
food. Thirty per cent. ! What is the population of 
the United Kingdom ? Forty-one millions. Thirty per 
cent, of 41 millions comes to something over 12 millions. 

Beyond this class of " underfed " millions 
" always on the verge of hunger " are the vast 
masses of the slightly better paid workers 
whose lives are unceasing struggles to keep 
above the poverty line. 

The common sight of a man losing his 
employment through drink, and the equally 
familiar instance of a teetotaller " getting 
on," seems to lend support to the idea that 
drink is a cause of unemployment and poverty. 
But a little consideration shows how rash is 
such a conclusion. Drink is a selecting agent. 
The teetotaller, if otherwise equally well 
qualified, will be preferred to the man who drinks. 
But when a teetotaller takes the job of a 
drinker, there has not been any additional 
employment created. One man was out 
before. Drink has now selected a different 
man to take his place. 


Chapter X. 
The Economics of Temperance. 

Socialists maintain that the poverty of 
the wage-earners is caused by their econ- 
omic subjection to landlordism and capital- 
ism. The landlord owns land. The people 
must have access to the land. So the land- 
owner is able to exact a rent for the use of 
his land ; and the amount of this rent is 
determined by the competition for the use of 
particular sites and the means of the persons 
who require the land. Every increase of 
population, therefore, increases the competition 
for land ; every increase in the wealth of the 
community enables the landlord to exact 
more rent. " Every permanent improvement 
of the soil, every railway and road, every 
bettering of the general condition of society, 
every facility given for production, every 
stimulus supplied to consumption, raises 

The power of the capitalist is analogous. 
The conditions of modern industry require 
that the workers must have access to large 
units of capital if they are to be profitably 

* Thorold Rogers, Political Economy, Ch. xii. 

employed. Their wages depend upon em- 
ployment provided for them by the owners 
of capital. The capitalist employs his 
capital to make profit. His profit depends 
upon getting labour for less wages than 
the value of the wealth which labour pro- 
duces. To enable him to induce the workers 
to take less in wages than the value they 
create, it is necessary to have a surplus of 
labour competing for employment. " The 
modern system of industry will not work 
without some unemployed margin/' as Mr. 
Charles Booth puts it. These unemployed 
compete for work ; the employer wants labour 
at the lowest price ; hence the tendency 
is for the rate of wages to fall to the lowest 
point which the workers, under necessity, 
will accept. These are the two chief factors 
in fixing wages — the degree of competition, 
and the cost of living for the social status of 
the workman. 

Just as the landlord takes unearned incre- 
ment, so the capitalist appropriates what he 
cannot help sharing with the landowner of 
the increase of wealth accruing from the 
increased productivity of labour. The 
wages of labour do not depend upon the 
percentage of profit. A strong trade union 
may sometimes gain an advance of wages 
in very profitable times when labour is 
scarce ; but never is the increase more than 
a very small proportion of the increased 


Temperance cannot of itself weaken the 
power of the landlord and the capitalist. 
The teetotal workman is just as much under 
the subjection of their monopoly as is the 
workman who drinks. It is " the subjection 
of labour to monopoly which is the cause 
of the evils and inequalities which fill the 
industrial world," and so long as this sub- 
jection exists, the landless and capitalless 
workers, whatever their virtues, must remain 
economically poor. 

This statement of the cause of poverty is 
not urged as a justification of the expenditure 
upon drink. But it is important to know 
the truth, and Temperance has sufficient to 
commend it to the workers without the support 
of unfounded claims. 

The money spent upon drink is largely 
economic waste. Only in so far as the ex- 
penditure upon drink takes the place of 
other refreshments which are necessary or 
sustaining, can the expenditure be justified. 
In so far as the drinking inflicts injury, it is 
worse than an economic waste. But apart 
from that, treating the question purely as 
a matter of social economy, the great bulk 
of the money spent on drink is waste. The 
labour employed in the trade does not add 
to the national wealth; it is supported by 
the labour of the productive workers and 
gives nothing useful in return. 

But in this respect the drink traffic is in 
the same position as all the occupations 


and trades which exist to gratify the idle 
and luxurious tastes of the rich. Economi- 
cally there is no difference between the drink 
traffic and the maintenance of flunkies or 
the keeping of racers. Each finds work ; but 
the persons thus employed are paid for out 
of wealth extracted from the useful 
workers, who have to maintain these non- 
productive, useless servants. If the workers 
who are employed in such occupations as 
the drink trade were paid their present wages 
to do nothing, nobody would be a penny 
the worse. Why the expenditure upon luxuries 
and personal services by the rich is foolishly 
regarded as being of social advantage, is 
because if the rich did not so expend their 
surplus wealth, the persons they now employ 
would be among the unemployed. In the 
case of the rich, their expenditure upon luxuries 
comes after all their necessities and reason- 
able comforts have been satisfied, and, there- 
fore, if it were not spent, it would not be used 
to further encourage the staple industries. 
But in the case of the working classes it is 
different. Their expenditure upon drink, 
in so far as it is unnecessary, is a diversion 
of income from necessaries to absolute 

Though it is true that the money spent 

upon drink, and all the capital and labour 

employed in the trade, is in a real sense 

social waste, it by no means follows that if 



it were abolished the masses of the people 
would gain economically by the change. If 
the traffic were abolished, the rich would 
probably spend what now goes in drink in 
some other form of vice or luxury, employ- 
ing people in that direction quite as uselessly 
as they are now occupied. But as to how 
universal abstinence would effect the wage- 
earning classes opinions differ and controversy 

We do not think it is a very profitable 
pastime to conjecture what would happen if 
drink could be all at once removed. There 
is no more possibility of such a thing 
happening than of an invasion from Mars. 
It may be good economic theory to main- 
tain that universal abstinence would lower 
wages, but economic theories, no more than 
other sorts of theories, are universal in their 

It is argued that as wages are regulated 
by competition, and under competition the 
tendency is for wages to fall to the point of 
subsistence, if the cost of living were re- 
duced by the withdrawal of some item of 
hitherto recognised expenditure, wages 
would fall by that amount. This assumes 
that the drink expenditure at present does 
form an item in the recognised minimum 
standard of living. It is doubtful if this is 
so. This assumes that those who spend a 
fairly considerable sum in drink are the 
great majority of the working men. We 


do not think that is the case. The argument 
assumes further that the standard of living 
of the teetotaller is lower than that of the 
drinker, which is the very reverse of the 
fact. The number of working men who 
spend little or nothing on drink has been in- 
creasing. Granting that formerly the drink 
allowance did enter into wages, meanwhile 
the non-drinkers have been applying that 
part of their wages to raising their standard 
of living, to procuring better food, better 
clothes, better homes. This has had the 
result of raising the whole standard of work- 
ing-class life, and this is the established " mini- 
mum on which the population will choose to 
subsist/ ' 

But the sudden abolition of the liquor 
traffic would bring such absolute chaos into 
the labour and commercial markets that the 
state of things would be similar to that 
produced by a great industrial revolution, 
and the workers might be unable to resist 
a considerable depression of their standard 
of life. If the labour displaced by Prohibi- 
tion could be immediately absorbed in other 
occupations, which the Prohibitionists seem 
to assume would be the case, then no reduc- 
tion of wages would follow. But it would 
be impossible to do that. If those workers 
who now spend considerably upon drink 
sought to transfer that expenditure to 
useful things, these trades could not meet 
the sudden demand upon them. Prices 

would rise to impossible figures. The labour 
suddenly displaced from the liquor trade 
could not be employed in making clothing, 
boots, and furniture, or even in building 
houses. It would be unskilled labour, and 
would be competing for employment in a 
market already overcrowded. On the other 
hand there is to set against the increased 
demand for useful things of the former 
drinkers, the withdrawal of the purchasing 
power for these things of the then unem- 
ployed liquor trade employees. So the 
reasonable probability is that the sudden 
and complete Prohibition of the liquor 
traffic would not increase the demand for 
goods of a useful character, but would add a 
million useless persons to the unemployed ; 
and the awful competition of the labour market 
caused thereby would depress wages beyond 

These results would follow the enforce- 
ment of universal Prohibition, though no 
such consequences are to be feared from 
the gradual spread of the practice of Tem- 
perance. This is reform on the right lines, 
and must tend to the raising of the standard 
of working-class life. It is the sober, in- 
telligent workmen who fight for better con- 
ditions. It is they who are the best sup- 
porters of the staple industries of the 
country. It is they who give their children 
a better start in life. It is they who are self- 
respecting and self-confident. When a drinker 


becomes an abstainer he does not lower his 
expenditure, but he increases it. The drinker 
is satisfied with a miserable existence ; the 
sober workman is always striving to raise 
his conditions of life. 

The powers of even a sober working-class 
to better their conditions are very limited 
under the subjection of landlord and capit- 
alist monopoly. Their conditions can only 
be improved in so far as they combine and 
successfully lessen the power of the mon- 
opolists. Temperance in itself cannot im- 
prove the economic state of the workers, 
but it is a very useful condition for applying 
effective means which will do so. Indeed, 
if the workers are simply content to be, tem- 
perate, and to allow landlordism and capit- 
alism to use their powers unchecked, then the 
virtue of abstinence will curse the abstainer 
economically and bless the monopolists. 

The result is seen in the way in which 
the working-class demand for better hous- 
ing benefits the landlord. Though universal 
Prohibition might not be followed by lower 
wages, it is pretty certain that there would 
be a general rise of rents. The experience 
of every-day life suggests this ; though actual 
confirmation is furnished by the Temperance 
Party themselves. In a pamphlet published 
by the Alliance* the following innocent con- 
fession is made : — 

There are many places in England where no public 

* The Curse and the Cure, p. 16. 


houses exist at all. What is the condition of these 
places ? A section of the township of Toxteth in 
Liverpool, containing about 60,000 people, in 200 
streets, with 12,000 houses, is one of these. How 
docs it get on without drink shops? Have all the 
respectable people rushed out of the district ? Nothing 
of the sort. People are so anxious to get into the 
neighbourhood that there is hardly a house to be got. 
The dwelling-houses there realise rents of about 
one third more than those obtained for houses of . 
equal style and accommodation in liquor shop neigh- 

Assuming that the workers retained their 
present wages, the saving of what is now 
spent in drink would be equivalent to an 
increase available for some other purpose. 
The following extract seems to suggest 
that the landlord would put in a successful 
claim for this amount : — 

Replying to a demand for higher wages for the 
labourers in Deptford Victualling Yard, Mr. Goschen 
(House of Commons, April 14th, 1899) said " that if 
it were consistent with proper administrative prin- 
ciples to make an advance of the wages of these 
labourers, he would certainly do so. But there was a 
larger question than that of the amount involved, 
which was infinitesimal. If the position of the 
labourers at Woolwich and Deptford was so describ- 
ed, it was rather due to sweating landlords than to 
the rate of wages. The wages had been raised 20 
per cent, in the last ten years, and the house rents 
50 per cent. It was constantly the case in those 
districts that the increase of wages only led to a larger 
sum going into the pockets of the landlords, and he 
was even told that some of the men who were locally 
the loudest in the cry for justice to the labourers were 
owners of cottage property, who would benefit if the 
wages were raised. 

Of course there are ways and means of 
preventing the landlords from appropriat- 
ing these rewards of virtue. But to apply 
them would be to apply Socialist principles, 
and those who claim that temperance would 
solve the poverty problem must confine 
themselves to proof that temperance itself 
would do this. 


The further claim made that, if the money 
now spent in drink were devoted to other 
and more useful objects there would be a 
great increase in the volume of employment, 
is without foundation. The statement of 
Sir George White, M.P., already quoted, 
is typical of the form in which this claim is 
made. A reduction of £50,000,000 a year in 
the drink bill would, he claims, find employ- 
ment for two million more workers. Lejt^ 
us test this by a simple fact. According to 
the figures of Dr. Dawson Burns the (kink 
expenditure according to population was 
£33,844,554 less in 1906 than in the year 
1900. According to Sir George White this 
ought to have found employment for 1,300,000 
more workers. But was this the case ? The 
Board of Trade Returns show that there 
was more unemployment when the drink 
bill was lower than when it was higher. 
And there is this further very im- 
portant fact, a fact which goes down to the 
very root of the question, that though there 


had been an increase of unemployment, there 
had been a vast increase in the volume of 
wealth produced. To put these facts clearly 
we will present them in the form of a table : 

Total Total 

Drink Percentage ui~SL of Income, 

Bill. of Unemployed. ?£&* assessed to 

Income Tax. 

Year. £ millions. £ millions. £ millions. 

1900 .. 185 .. 2*9 .. 877 .. 833 
1906 .. 166 .. 4*1 .. 1068 .. 925 

Here are some facts for those to explain 
who maintain that the transfer of expendi- 
ture from drink to other articles will solve 
the unemployed problem and abolish 
poverty. Contemporary with a great reduction 
in the expenditure upon drink, unemploy- 
ment has increased, wages have declined, 
wealth has grown, and the profits of the 
rich have risen. The explanation is that 
there are economic forces at work deter- 
mining the conditions of labour and the 
distribution of wealth, which the Prohibi- 
tionists ignore. It may be true that to pro- 
duce goods of the same selling value, more 
labour is employed in manufacturing cloth- 
ing, furniture, and in mining, agriculture, 
etc., but in all these trades the number of 
persons employed in proportion to the out- 
put is every year getting smaller. Here are 
a few facts : — 

The Cotton Trade. 

Number of 


Raw cotton used, 














In twenty-three years there has been an in- 
crease of about 15 per cent, in the volume 
of the raw cotton worked in this country, 
and a decrease of about 11 per cent, in 
the number of persons employed. If this 
tendency goes on, and it certainly must 
with the advance of improvements, it must 
follow that an increase of demand for such 
goods will not provide additional employ- 
ment. The same tendency is to be seen 
operating in every one of our staple indus- 
tries. It is not true, therefore, that . total 
abstinence can provide work for all ; the 
causes of unemployment are clearly economic. 
There is this further point worth mentioning, 
that total abstinence would improve the 
efficiency of the workers, and, therefore, a 
smaller number would be able to turn out 
the same volume of production. 

The contention that the transfer of pur- 
chasing power would find much more em- 
ployment deserves consideration from another 
point of view. The contention is put forward 
by Sir George White in the article already 
mentioned. He says : — 

The drink trade has a gigantic capital, makes very 
large profits, and has an extremely small wages fund ; 
therefore, money spent in it is, from the workers' stand- 
point, absolutely wasted. The year's turnover of 
a large brewer is twenty times the amount of his yearly 
wages account ; whilst the ordinary manufacturer 
will pay to his wage-earners a year's turnover in three 
and a half to four years. A Scotch Whiskey firm, 
making an average profit of £120,000 yearly, pays £600 
a week (£31,200 a year) in wages, but ten times the 
amount, viz., £6,000 weekly would be paid in wages 


to make such a profit in most of the manufacturing 
industries of the country. 

The fallacies in this statement are two : 
first, that the wages paid in the distillery 
represent the employment given in making 
the whiskey produced in this distillery ; 
second, that the profits do not provide em- 
ployment. The distillery process is only 
one operation in the work required to get 
whiskey from the barley stage to the bar 
counter. The drink traffic employs the great- 
est portion of its labour in other functions 
than the actual production of the drink in 
the distillery or brewery. The census returns 
give only some 56,000 persons as being em- 
ployed as maltsters, brewers, and distillers, 
but the number of persons employed in the 
liquor traffic (with their dependents) is put 
down variously at from 1,225,000 to 1,966,000. 
In the Daily News, August 30th, 1904, 
Mr. G. B. Wilson went into this question 
minutely with the object of disproving the 
statements made by the trade as to the extent 
to which it gives employment. As a matter 
of interest we will summarise his conclusions 
and compare them with the trade figures : — 

Trade Figures. Mr. Wilson's 

Makers .. .. 213,000 .. 97, 540 

Distributors . . 775,000 . . 325,912 

Dependents .. 900,000 .. 653,331 

Agriculturalists .. 78,000 .. 150,000 

Persons employed .. 1,966,000 1,226,783 

The liquor traffic is not the only trade 
which makes a big profit in proportion to 

its wages bill. Take the railways of this 
country. This is not a productive business. 
It gives nothing in return for its receipts 
but service. Yet we find in 1906 the following : — 

Total Receipts 117,227,931 

Working Expenses (including Wages) . . 72,781,854 

Profits 44,446,077 

The item of wages is not given separately, 
but it can be ascertained by analysis that it 
does not amount to a sum equal to that dis- 
tributed in profits. A more remarkable in- 
stance of enormous profits made by a small 
wages fund is that of the Coats' Sewing Cotton 
Syndicate. The profits of the firm amount 
to £3,000,000 a year and the wages bill does 
not exceed £500,000. It would be easy to 
multiply illustrations by the hundred to show 
that in many of the industries making the 
necessaries of life the proportion of wages to 
profits is very small. 

But in the extract given above it is assumed 
that the profits of the drink trade employ 
no labour. The profits are spent in em- 
ploying labour to produce food, clothing, 
houses, luxuries for the people who live in 
idleness out of the drink traffic. It comes 
back in wages, one way or another; but, 
and this is the social waste of it all, it employs 
the workers to keep others doing nothing, 
who pay the wages out of profits they have 
taken from other workers' labour. 
The argument then that the drink traffic 

employs a much smaller number of persons 
in proportion to the turn-over is losing its 
force every year. It was practically 
abandoned by Mr. James Whyte, the Secre- 
tary of the Alliance, in an article in the 
Commonwealth for August, 1896. " I 
believe," he said, " that the liquor trade 
gives much more employment than Dr. 
Burns and Mr. Hoyle were disposed to 
allow. In this I by no means stand alone 
among temperance men." 

The economic argument against expendi- 
ture upon drink is that such expenditure is 
unnecessary ; it does not support life or give 
efficiency. The profits of the trade enable 
a class to live on the labour of the workers, 
without rendering any social service in 
return — just as do the profits of landlords 
and capitalists. Economically, the drink 
traffic is analogous to other expenditure on 
luxuries, but as it is indulged in to such a 
great extent by the working-classes, who 
can only afford luxuries by sacrificing neces- 
saries, it is especially harmful. The spending 
of any part of a workman's income on drink 
aggravates his poverty, though it is not the 
cause of his poverty. Abstinence on the 
part of the workers would not of itself im- 
prove their economic condition, for it would 
not touch the power of the landlord and 
capitalist to appropriate surplus value ; though 
abstinence is desirable from every point of 
view, even as a necessary condition for effective 
warfare against monopoly. 


Chapter XI. 
State Prohibition. 

For more than four hundred years legislators 
have been trying to make men sober by Act 
of Parliament. It is true that for a consider- 
able part of that time there has been the 
counteracting influence of a material interest 
felt by one of the departments of the state 
in the prosperity of the drink traffic. The 
Chancellor of the Exchequer has depended 
upon the intemperance of the nation to en- 
able him to make both ends meet. 

All the restrictive and regulative legislation 
has failed to lessen the volume of the drink 
traffic. It must not be assumed that this 
legislation has been useless. It would baffle 
the most imaginative mind to conceive what 
the state of things would have been if the 
liquor traffic had been free to carry on its 
trade without licensing and restriction. But, 
notwithstanding this restraining influence 
for good, it must be admitted that legislation 
has so far failed to effect sobriety. The 
question therefore now arises : Is it im- 
possible for legislation to prevent drunkenness ; 
or are there some, as yet, untried legislative 
powers which would achieve that desirable 

In 1853 the United Kingdom Alliance 
was formed. " The history and results of all 
past legislation in regard to the liquor traffic 
abundantly prove," says its Declaration of 
Principles, " that it is impossible satisfac- 
torily to limit or regulate a system so essen- 
tially mischievous in its tendencies " ; there- 
fore, " all good citizens should combine to 
procure an enactment prohibiting the sale of 
intoxicating beverages, as affording most 
efficient aid in removing the appalling evil of 

On the 10th March, 1864, the late Sir 
Wilfrid Lawson moved for leave to bring in 
a Permissive Prohibitory Intoxicating Liquors 
Bill, the object of which was to give the 
ratepayers of localities permission to prohibit 
the common sale of intoxicating liquors in 
their own districts. The motion for leave 
to bring in the Bill was opposed, but was 
carried by 72 votes against 38. Five years 
later the Bill reached Second Reading, when 
it was defeated by 195 to 89. On seven 
subsequent occasions (the last being in 1878) 
the Bill was rejected by overwhelming majori- 
ties. The election of 1880 very much altered 
the constitution of the House of Commons, 
and on the 18th of June of that year a Resold 
tion in favour of Local Option was carried 
by 231 votes to 205. 

Since that time Local Option has taken its 
place as a recognised proposal of temperance 

reform. In 1895, Sir William Harcourt on 
behalf of the Liberal Government of that 
time introduced the Intoxicating Liquors 
Local Control Bill. It granted to the people 
of localities power to veto, by a two-thirds 
majority, the sale of intoxicating liquors, 
except in regard to railway refreshment 
rooms, hotels, and eating houses. Two other 
options were permitted — (1) to reduce, by a 
simple majority, the number of licenses by 
one-fourth ; (2) by a simple majority to pre- 
vent the sale of drink on Sundays. This 
Bill never reached a Second Reading. The 
Government were defeated on the War Office 
Vote, and a General Election followed, with 
disastrous consequences to the Liberal Party. 
The unpopularity of the Local Option Bill 
was very commonly assigned as one of the 
chief reasons for the defeat of the Liberals 
at the polls. If this were true, it has an im- 
portant bearing upon the wisdom of devot- 
ing great efforts to securing the enactment 
of such a law ; for its success in practice must 
depend upon the degree of public opinion in 
favour of restricting the number of licenses. 

It is impossible to estimate the measure 
of influence exerted by particular questions 
at a General Election when so many issues 
are before the country. It is more likely 
that the widespread disappointment with the 
Liberal Government's record of social and 
labour legislation had more to do with their 


' defeat than the Local Option Bill. 

The Right Hon. Herbert Gladstone, Chief 
Liberal Whip, speaking at Manchester, Nov. 
24th, 1897, said : — 

The heaviest burden the Liberal Party had to bear 
at the last General Election, with perhaps the exception 
of Home Rule, was that of direct veto. He said 
that after consultation with scores of his colleagues in 
the House of Commons. 

The new Parliament elected in January, 
1906, was soon given an opportunity of ex- 
pressing its views on Local Option. On April 
10th, 1906, the following Resolution was moved 
by Mr. Leif Jones : — 

That this House notes with satisfaction the suc- 
cessful working of the local option laws in the colonies, 
and approves the principle on which these laws are 
based, namely, that the people ought to possess, through 
a vote of the local electors, the power to protect them- 
selves against the admitted evils of the Liquor Traffic. 

This resolution was carried by 273 votes to 
46, most of the members of the Government 
voting in favour. 

The position attained by Local Option in 
the temperance reform programme demands 
that the question should receive consider- 
ation in these pages. It is scarcely worth 
while to discuss Prohibition by the State, 
or the power of veto over a large area, be- 
cause, while the extreme temperance party 
still hold to " Prohibition by the State " as 
an ideal, they have never put such a proposal 
into the form of a Parliamentary demand, 
resolution, or bill. 


The United States of ^America has been 
for nearly a century a fruitful field of ex- 
periments in the control of the liquor traffic. 
Since 1851, when the State of Maine 
adopted Prohibition, it is scarcely an ex- 
aggeration to say that every State in the 
Union has been kept in a condition of fer- 
ment on the liquor question. The advantage 
has alternated between the two parties. A 
strong pull and a long pull has at intervals 
given the temperance party a temporary 
victory, but the effort has generally left them 
too exhausted to keep the advantage they 
had won. The Prohibition sentiment was 
too weak to act unconsciously, and after a 
short, but usually disastrous experience, the 
prohibitory law has been repealed. During 
the past three years the States have enacted 
164 separate laws directly affecting the liquor 

At one time or another 17 States have had 
stringent Prohibition laws. Fourteen of these 
have abandoned Prohibition as impracticable. 
In 1907 a great wave of temperance agitation 
passed over the United States. It was a 
convulsion analogous to the religious revivals 
which sometimes come — and go. Under the 
influence of this wave of sentiment two small 
States, Oklahoma and Alabama, enacted Pro- 
hibition in 1907, while in a third State, Georgia, 
Prohibition came as a result of the Atlanta 

* Foreign Office Paper, Cd. 3284, p. 105. 

riots, the white populations deciding to close 
the saloons for se]f -protection against the 
drunken negro mobs. 

The Rev. W. J. Dawson, in an article re- 
cently published,t says " Six great States — 
viz., Maine, Kansas, North Dakota, Georgia, 
Alabama, and Oklahoma have enacted Pro- 
hibition laws. In not one of these States 


liquor." This extract is quoted as a typical 
specimen of the reckless and unfounded 
statements made by fanatical and emotional 
would-be temperance reformers. Such state- 
ments contribute nothing useful to the dis- 
cussion of a great and difficult problem, but 
serve only to condemn as absolutely untrust- 
worthy the advocates of this particular proposal. 
Not one of the States mentioned is a great 
State. Georgia is the most highly populated, 
and 83 per cent, of its people live in villages 
of less than one thousand inhabitants. In this 
" great " State at the census of 1890 the average 
number of persons per square mile was 31, 
while the average density in this country is 
over 500. Oklahoma is a practically un- 
inhabited prairie, having only just recently 
been raised to the dignity of a State. North 
Dakota is very similar, the density of the 
population being four persons per square mile. 
Kansas, Maine and Alabama are all thinly 
populated States. The fourteen States which 

•f Christian World, Jan. 2nd, 1908. 

have tried and abandoned Prohibition were 
mainly the populous States of the Union. The 
two States which have most recently repealed 
their Prohibition laws are Vermont and New 
Hampshire, and these were the most populous 
of the then existing Prohibition States, 
though their density was not one-twelfth 
that of this country. Vermont had been 
under Prohibition since 1852, when the 
majority for Prohibition was 13,000 votes. 
It is significant of much that two generations 
born and reared under Prohibition should in 
1902 repeal the statute and give power to the 
towns to adopt a license system. The case of 
New Hampshire is very similar. The State 
is mainly agricultural, and only the votes of 
the isolated farmers had succeeded in pre- 
venting the repeal of the Prohibition law 
long years ago. In 1903 there voted for licenses 
34,330 ; against licenses 26,630. A majority 
of the village units voted for " no license "; 
at one place (Waterville) only one elector 
turned up, and he unanimously carried the 
cause of Prohibition. 

The statement is made in the quotation 
from Dr. Dawson's article that "in not 
one of these (Prohibition) States is it possible 
to sell or procure liquor." Opinions differ 
widely as to the actual measures of success 
attending Prohibition, but the bold assertion 
that " in not one of these States is it possible 
to sell or procure liquor/ ' will find little sup- 
port even among the strongest Prohibitionists. 


There are not two more extreme Pro- 
hibitionists in this country than Mr. Joseph 
Malins and Mr. Guy Hayler, a North of 
England temperance agent. Both these men 
have personally investigated the working of 
Prohibition in America, and both are wit- 
nesses strongly biassed in its favour. Mr. 
Malins says, " In some places the Prohibi- 
tion law is grossly violated."* Mr. Guy 
Hayler,f describing the state of things in 
Portland, Maine, quotes from one issue of the 
leading daily paper of that town several in- 
stances of raids upon liquor sellers, " just 
as in the days of Sheriff Pearson and his 

An official verdict as to the success of Pro- 
hibition is given in the Foreign Office Report 
recently issued, and from which quotations 
have already been given. Referring to Kansas, 
this Report quotes from the Message of 
Governor Hoch to the State Legislature, 

In three or four of the large cities of Kansas, Pro- 
hibition has never been thoroughly enforced, and dur- 
ing recent years this number has been increased till 
it now probably amounts to some 25. 

In these towns a system of monthly fines usually 
prevails, which amounts practically to a license sys- 
tem. Sometimes the dealer is formally arrested, 
pleads guilty, and is fined anything from 50 to 100 
dollars, according to the amount usual in the place. 
Sometimes the police officer, without actually taking 

* A Journey Round the Globe, page 7. 
t Northern Echo, April 20th, 1904. 

the offender to the police station, releases him on re- 
ceiving a cash bond for his appearance. The dealer 
fails to appear when the case is called, and the bond is 
forfeited. In either case the dealer may look forward 
to being left unmolested in his business till the succeed- 
ing month. 

In the larger cities the saloon has become a recog- 
nised and permanent institution. In the smaller, 
virtual local option prevails ; Prohibition is the law, 
but its enforcement is in the hands of local elected 

Mr. Vice-Consul Keating, of Maine, re- 
porting on the enforcement of Prohibition in 
Portland, states that for two or three years 
previous to 1905 the Sheriff had organised 
a system of restricted saloons where the sale 
of liquor was well known to the public and 
the officials. The Sheriff himself, a total 
abstainer, had recognised his inability to 
suppress the liquor traffic, and had adopted 
this method as the lesser of two evils. In 
1905, one of the periodic outbursts of pro- 
hibitory enthusiasm came, and the saloons 
and bars were closed. The Vice-Consul 
reports that the result has been to throw 
the liquor traffic into the hands of pocket 

Prohibition, while it certainly restricts the sale 
of liquor, certainly does not suppress it. While the 
poor, improvident, or stranger, is compelled to seek 
the pocket pedlar, the average non-abstainer can get 
rather more than he wants at the numerous clubs or 
else at his or his friend's home ; and if his wants are 
running low, a telephone order to a dealer in the neigh- 
bouring State will soon replenish his stock by the next 
train or express. 

This extract sums up fairly well what 
is the generally accepted conclusion among 
impartial persons as to the results of State 
Prohibition in America. Where there is a 
sparse and widely scattered population it is 
possible to enforce a prohibitory law over the 
whole State. But a considerable part of 
the population in the villages and towns is 
always in revolt against the Prohibition. No 
law can be enforced against a strong public 
sentiment. The violation of such a law, like 
passive resistance and anti-vaccination in this 
country, is not regarded as criminal. The 
effect, however, of open violation is very 
serious upon the public respect for law, and 
it brings the Government and administration 
into general contempt. Experiments in 
State Prohibition, under far more favour- 
able conditions than obtain in Britain, offer 
no encouragement to this country to attempt 
a policy of State repression enforced by police 


Chapter XII. 
Local Option. 

The case of Local Option differs from State 
Prohibition. Most of the American States 
which have repealed their State prohibitory 
law have adopted systems of Local Option. 
Local Option is very generally the law in 
Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Before 
proceeding to consider the results of Local 
Option in other lands it might be well to 
discuss the abstract arguments for and against 
the principle itself. 

It is accepted as a settled principle that the 
community has a right to interfere with a 
private trade, when the way in which it is 
carried on is injurious to the persons em- 
ployed in it, or to the public. It is undeni- 
able that the drink traffic increases poverty, 
crime, and lunacy. The community has to pay 
the cost of dealing with the effects of drunken- 
ness. The contention that the drinkers 
contribute to the revenue a sum equal to the 
cost of maintaining the poor and administer- 
ing justice does not affect the point. The 
taxation upon liquor is not imposed to meet 
the expenses of dealing with the damage it 
does, any more than the tax upon tea is to 
pay for curing the indigestion it may cause. 

f*J : * I20 

The licensing powers of the magistrates 
admit the right of the community to regu- 
late, to restrict, and even to prohibit the 
sale of liquor. The magistrates act as the 
representatives of the people, and in theory 
are supposed to express the will of the people 
in licensing matters. To transfer the magis- 
trates' power directly to the votes of the 
people is the assertion of no new claim by the 
community ; it is simply a change in the 
method of exercising a right ; it is a change 
from representative to democratic local govern- 

Local Option claims the advantage of 
being adaptable to local conditions, and of 
providing a means of reducing the number 
of public houses with the growth of temper- 
ance sentiment in a district. The people of 
the locality are better judges of their own 
needs and wishes than a bench of magis- 
strates exercising a wide jurisdiction. Local 
Option can only prohibit the traffic within the 
district in which a large majority of the electors 
have expressed their desire to that effect, and 
therefore it will be enforced with the authority 
of a strong public opinion, — the best guarantee 
of success. 

Opponents of Local Option urge that to 
give the power to a majority to prohibit the 
sale of intoxicating liquor is a tyrannical 
interference with individual liberty. The 
answer to that is that such an objection 
might have some weight as an argument 


against total State Prohibition, but it cannot ' 
tell against Local Option. Local Option is 
not the prohibition of the use of liquor. Its 
utmost power does not extend beyond pro- 
hibiting the sale in public houses within speci- 
fied areas. Local Option would not " rob a 
poor man of his beer." The most it could do 
would be to put him to a little more trouble 
to get it. Local Option is simply giving the 
power to the people to say whether a public 
house should be licensed in a certain place, or 
what number of such places shall exist, or 
whether new licenses shall be granted. The 
removal of the temptation of the open door 
of the public house is of greater importance 
than some little increase of inconvenience 
to the man who is determined to get drink. 
The nuisance of a public house in a district 
where the great majority don't want it, is 
surely a greater interference with individual 
comfort than to put a small minority to some 
little inconvenience by removing it. 

The abstract justice of conferring the 
power of Local Option upon the people is 
unanswerable. The case against Local 
Option is rather a practical than an abstract 
one. If Local Option be put forward as a 
complete legislative scheme of temperance 
reform, then much can be said against 
building one's hopes upon its success. The 
most urgent reform in connection with the 
drink traffic is to lessen the amount of drink- 
ing in the poor and densely populated parts 
of our towns. Local Option has little hope 

to offer of doing this. As it would require 
a two-thirds majority of the electors to veto 
the traffic, it seems to follow that it would be 
only where a strong temperance sentiment 
existed that the public houses would be 
closed. Local Veto is a proposal for vetoing 
the traffic where little or no traffic exists. It 
could not apply where most needed, and 
Local Vetoists have no proposals for dealing 
with the traffic where the people refuse to 
veto it. 

It is maintained in some quarters that the 
drink-sodden people in the slums would use 
the power of veto to remove the thing that 
curses them. Such optimism is admirable, 
but it is very unsubstantial. The plebiscites 
which have been taken at times by the Tem- 
perance party, and which have shown such 
great majorities for Local Option are value- 
less. There is all the difference, as every 
member of Parliament well knows, between 
voting for an abstract resolution and a con- 
crete proposal. Local Veto in the abstract 
is fascinating, but when it becomes a ques- 
tion of voting to close the business of a friend 
or lifelong acquaintance the matter assumes 
a very different appearance. It may be 
fascinating to indulge in prophecy as to how 
far Local Option would be applied in this 
country, but the conclusions would be only 
matters of opinion. We are, however, justi- 
fied in judging of probabilities by the experience 
of Local Option in other lands. 

In investigating the results of Prohibition 

and Local Option abroad one striking fact 
everywhere manifests itself. Whatever 
measure of success has been attained by a 
suppressive policy has been in thinly popu- 
lated country districts. Such a policy has 
invariably broken down when it has been 
applied to large centres of population. The 
late Secretary of the United Kingdom Alli- 
ance, Mr. James Whyte, states,* — and to 
emphasise the fact he prints the words in 

Up to date there is no large town — I think I may 
say in the world — in which the liquor traffic has been 
dealt with satisfactorily by any method whatever. 

The drink question in our country resolves 
itself into grappling with the traffic as a town 
problem. Therefore, if evidence can be pro- 
duced that Local Option has been successful 
over wide afeas, and among a large popula- 
tion in the aggregate, that would be no evidence 
that a similar result would follow in this 
densely populated country. Even if it were 
possible to show that Local Option is in success- 
ful operation in large towns in other countries, 
that would not be conclusive proof that such 
a policy would be successful here. Other 
circumstances have to be considered. The 
strength of the temperance sentiment, the 
religious character of the people, racial pecu- 
liarities, climatic and industrial conditions, 
might in other countries aid its success — 
influences and conditions which may be 
absent here. 

* " The Alliance Vindicated/' p. 52. 

No temperance reform will be of service 
in this country which is not effective in towns. 
The temperance agitation arose with the 
growth of the modern towns. The concen- 
tration of the population brought new prob- 
lems ; problems of public health arose which 
necessitated new forms of town government. 
There is a greater difficulty of dealing with 
an evil among a congested population ; in 
the country districts there is greater fear of 
law. The main cause of drinking operates 
far more vigorously in towns than in the rural 


It has been pointed out that four-fifths of 
the American States which at one time tried 
Prohibition have abandoned it. It failed 
because of the difficulty of enforcing it in the 
towns. And these " towns and cities " are 
mostly small country villages. Yet it was 
found impossible to keep these small centres 
of population " dry." So the wise policy 
was followed of leaving the matter to the 
decision of the localities. The result is that 
almost universally the country districts vote 
for Prohibition ; but where two or three are 
gathered together the public house must be 
in the midst of them. The results of Local 
Option in America are sympathetically, but 
critically, summed up in the following ex- 
tract* : 

* Foreign Office Report, Cd. 3284-1, April 1907, 
p. 107. 

I2 5 

If the aim of liquor legislation is to bring about 
a diminution of drinking, it may be said that Local 
Option, of all the systems in force, effects real Pro- 
hibition over the largest possible area with the least 
possible friction. It is almost invariably found that 
the towns vote for license, and the country districts 
Prohibition. ... It may be pointed out in this con- 
nection that the three States which retain Prohibition are 
almost entirely agricultural communities. As for the 
causes of the distinction, it is probable that temper- 
ance feeling is stronger in the rural districts ; but it 
must not be forgotten that almost everywhere in the 
United States the population is sparse compared with 
the United Kingdom, distances are greater, and country 
police anything but omnipresent. 

The Temperance Party claim that 30,000,000 
of the population of the United States are 
living under the operation of Prohibition. 
If this be so, and if Local Option is at all 
effective in reducing drinking in the areas 
of its operation, then the license districts 
must be terribly drunken, for the Drink 
Bill of the country in 1904 was £255,545,400. 
The expenditure upon drink is increasing 
annually, as the following figures show : — 
United States Expenditure on Drink. 

Year. Dollars. 

1899 .. 973.5 8 9.o8o 

1900 .. I.059.5 6 3.787 

1901 .. 1,094,644,155 

1902 .. 1,172,565,235 

1903 .. 1,242,943,118 

1904 .. 1,277,727,190 

Clearly, Local Option in the United States 
has not dealt with the problem of the drink 
traffic in the towns. 



The experience of Canada points to the same 
conclusions. There is no other part of the 
world where temperance sentiment is so strong 
and widespread. The consumption of liquor 
per head is but one-fifth of the consumption 
in the United Kingdom. The colony has a 
Dominion Local Option Law — known as the 
Scott Act — as well as Provincial Local Option 
laws. The Scott Act, which was hailed as 
the precursor of national salvation, was at one 
time in force in a number of towns and country 
areas. In most of these it has been abandoned 
owing to the opposition of the towns. The 
operation of Local Option is widespread under 
provincial law, but the difficulty experienced 
in the United States of securing the vote of 
the towns has been met with here also. It 
might be noted that the majority required 
for " no license " in the Provincial Acts is 
usually three-fifths ; but the Temperance 
party, finding an increased difficulty in get- 
ting this majority, are now agitating for an 
alteration of the Provincial Local Option 
laws so that a majority of one may carry 
Local Veto. 

Though plebiscites and votes have shown 
large majorities in favour of Prohibition, 
and though Local Prohibition by the vote of 
the province is widespread, neither the Tem- 
perance sentiment nor the operation of Local 
Veto appears to have done anything to lessen 
drunkenness in the Dominion. In recent 
years there has been a startling increase in 


drunkenness and crime in Canada. In 1903 

the total convictions for all offences in 

Canada was 50,404, whereas the average for 

the five preceding years was 40,851. The 

convictions for drunkenness for 1903 

totalled 16,532, the average for the years 

1898-1902 being 12,123. These increases 

might be accounted for by the increase in 

population, but another set of facts prove 

conclusively that the consumption of drink 

per head is on the increase. The following 

figures tell the tale : — 

Production and Consumption of Wine, Beer, 
and Spirits in Canada. 

Imperial gallons per head of Population. 
Year. Wine. Beer. Spirits. 

1895 . . 0*09 . . 3*4 . . 0*69 

1905 .. o-io .. 5-4 .. 0*94 

In the same period in the United Kingdom, 
without Local Option, the reduction in the 
consumption of liquor has been as follows : — 

Consumption per Head in United Kingdom. 

Year. Wine. Beer. Spirits. 

1895 .. 0-37 .. 29*6 .. I'OO 

1905 . . 0-27 . . 277 . . 0*91 

We do not argue from these startling 
figures that Local Veto increases the con- 
sumption of liquor, and that the absence of 
the power tends to sobriety ; but the figures 
do prove conclusively that there are factors 
in the drink question which restrictive legis- 
lation cannot touch in the least. 

The strenuous effort of the Canadian Tem- 
perance Party, under national conditions 
very favourable to the success of legislative 


restriction of the traffic, have failed to make 
an impression upon the consumption of drink. 
Clearly the experience of Canada gives little 
encouragement to hope that in our country 
the power of Local Option would be exercised 
in such a way as to lessen the amount of drink- 
ing and drunkenness. 


The Temperance Party in this country 
point to New Zealand for confirmation of 
their claim that Local Option is a practical 
way of dealing with the liquor question. But 
the conditions are so different as between the 
two countries that comparisons are of little 
value. The area of New Zealand is 110,000 
square miles, — more than that of Great Britain ; 
the population of the whole country is less 
than Glasgow and district. The country is 
mainly pastoral, there are no great towns, 
industrial and social legislation is very 
advanced. The conditions are healthy ; the 
population is selected ; everything is favour- 
able to sobriety. The Temperance Move- 
ment, which is prohibitory in its aims, is 
extremely active and its agencies are in- 

In the year 1894 a Local Option law was 
enacted. It requires a three-fifths majority 
of the voters who poll to carry " no license " 
in any electoral district. Polls are taken 
every three years, and the results have been 
as follows : — 




For no 






.. I39,58o • 

94,555 • 



. . I43»962 

. 109,449 



. . 148,449 


. 132,240 



. 151,057 . 

. 198,768 

In 1905, in 36 out of 68 licensing districts 
a majority of the votes polled was for no- 
license, but not in sufficient number to make 
up the three-fifths required to carry the issue. 
In three districts where no-license was carried 
in 1902 the position was kept, and in three 
other districts the necessary majority for 
no-license was secured. In the four cities — 
Auckland, Dunedin, Christchurch and Welling- 
ton — about one-third of the voters were 
given for no-license. It will be seen that the 
percentage of voters supporting reduction 
and " no-license " has shown a continuous 
advance. At the first election only one 
district — Clutha — gave a majority for " no- 
license," and this district remained in splendid 
isolation until 1902, when five other districts 
secured the necessary three-fifths majority. 
In two of these cases the vote was afterwards 
declared to be invalid. 

Ten years of Local Option in New Zealand 
has apparently done nothing whatever to 
lessen the amount of drink consumption. 
In six districts only has the law been put 
into operation to the extent of Local Pro- 
hibition, and meanwhile, nationally, the 
consumption of drink has increased, and the 
number of convictions for drunkenness has 

increased also. The following figures taken 
from official publications are instructive : — 
Convictions for Drunkenness in New Zealand.* 


Per 1,000 population 
(excluding Maories) 














The convictions for drunkenness among the 
native-born population (who constitute 51*85 
of the total over 15 years of age) are only 17 
per cent, of the whole number. 

Since the passing of the Local Option 
Law the consumption of alcoholic liquors has 
greatly increased. 

Consumption of Beer and Spirits in 
New Zealand. 
1. — Beer. 

Year. Total Gals. Per head of Pop. 

1894 .. 5.oi9»973 .. 7*4 gals. 

1900 . . 6,966,908 . . 9*1 „ 

1905 . . 8,014,430 . . 9*2 „ 

2. — Spirits . 

Year. Total Gals. Per head. 

1894 .. 439,153 •• 0*65 gals. 

1900 .. 549,932 .. 0*52 „ 

1905 .. 634,827 .. 073 „ 

It is only fair to add that since 1901 the 
consumption of drink per head has shown 
no tendency to increase. On the contrary, 
however, there has been a striking increase 
in crime since 1897, the number of distinct 

* New Zealand Year Book, 

persons committed to prisons having risen 
from 25-84 per 1,000 of population to 34*27 
in 1904. 

The Drink Bill of New Zealand for 1903 
was £3,056,590, being £3 10s. yd. per head of 
the population, and for 1904, £3,152,849 and 
£3 10s. iod. respectively. 

In the face of all these facts we fail to find 
much encouragement to hope that Local 
Option will do much to lessen the volume of 
the drink trade in the United Kingdom. In 
reviewing the operation of Local Option in 
New Zealand it should be remembered that 
there is the women's vote to take into con- 
sideration. At the poll of 1905 the women 
voters formed 44 per cent, of the total, and 
it is believed that the increasing vote for " no- 
license " is accounted for by the growing 
interest of the women in public affairs. Com- 
pared with the polling in the year 1902, the 
total number of votes shows a numerical in- 
crease of 41,380, or 22-95 per cent, on the 
part of the men, and 36,178, or 26*11 per cent, 
on the part of the women, clearly showing 
that the latter are now taking greater interest 
in Local Option matters than they formerly did. 

The experience of Canada and of New 
Zealand is repeated in our Australian Colonies. 
All the States have Local Option laws, some 
enacted so long ago as 1885, but they have 
not been put into operation to any extent. 
The right to veto the issue of new licenses 
has been very extensively exercised, 


but in extremely few cases has " no license " 
been carried ; and there seems to be a fairly 
unanimous opinion that in these few in- 
stances the experiment has been a failure. 
Sir George Turner, an ex-Premier of Victoria, 
informed an interviewer* that " in Mildura, 
a portion of the colony of Victoria, which 
has Prohibition, he believes that more drink 
is consumed than in any other place in that 
colony. In his opinion there is no surer 
way of making the people take to liquor than 
to close all the hotels and make the traffic 

The Bishop of Ballarat, speaking at the 
Royal Colonial Institute in 1897, said : — 

I think a mistake was made in attempting to make 
Mildura " prohibitionist." This may suit some places, 
but I can say from personal knowledge that at Mil- 
dura the result has been disastrous. It lowered the 
moral tone of the community, for it generated on a 
large scale bogus clubs and sly grog shops, which 
under the circumstances, people came to use without 
a sense of degradation. 

The number of police cases connected with drink I 
found painfully large in the settlement. 

Although practically nothing has been done 
in Australia to prohibit the sale of drink, 
there has been in all the States a tendency 
to a diminished consumption of liquor. Under 
each of the heads of wine, beer, and spirits, 
the consumption per head of population in 
1905 was lower than in 1891. 

It may be remembered that we laid it down 
that proof of the success of a form of legis- 
* Bradford Observer, June 12th, 1896. 

lative control in one country did not justify 
the conclusion that the same policy would 
achieve success elsewhere. Our review of 
the operation and results of Prohibition and 
Local Option in the United States, Canada, 
New Zealand and Australia has not shown a 
measure of success which would justify us in 
hoping that much would come from Local 
Option in the United Kingdom, even if the 
conditions here were as favourable as in the 
other countries mentioned. But the condi- 
tions in Great Britain are far less favourable 
than in any of the countries where Local 
Option is the law, and therefore the difficulties 
in the way of its success here will be greater. 

It is maintained, however, that the United 
Kingdom can furnish many instances of the 
successful operation of Local Veto. On 
August 27th, 1907, a Government return was 
issued giving the number of civil parishes in 
Rural Districts in England and Wales with 
no"on" licenses. The totals are as follows : — 

England and Wales. 

Number of CWil Total Popula- Number of Civil Total Populat'n 

Parishes in tion of Rural Parishes in of Civil Parishes. 

Rural Districts. Districts Rural Districts -vith no 

(ist April, 1904) (1901; with no " On" Licenses. 

"On"' Licenses. 

Total 12,995 7,469,488 3,903 575» I2 9 

In 3,903 civil parishes in rural England and 
Wales there are no public houses. But how , 
is this an argument for local Veto ? Why 
L are there no public houses in these parishes ? 


Simply because the parishes are too thinly 
populated to support public houses, and 
because in practically every case there are 
adjoining parishes which provide all the 
facilities for getting drink which the inhabit- 
ants of the " no " license areas desire. 

The Temperance Party make much of the 
Prohibition areas of Toxteth, Bessbrook, and 
the estates of Mr. Cameron Corbett, M.P., 
near London. In these cases Prohibition 
is enforced by the will of the landowner, and 
such a district naturally attracts people who 
are teetotallers or temperate. None of these 
Prohibition residential districts present any 
features which distinguish them from any 
other new district with the same class of pro- 
perty, in which Prohibition is not enforced. 
Mr. Wm. Crossfield, J. P., in his evidence 
before the Royal Commission on Liquor 
Licensing Laws, referring to the " no license " 
areas in Liverpool, said, " I am bound to say 
that with very little trouble from the centre 
of that area an unlimited quantity of refresh- 
ments could be obtained," and in reply to a 
question as to whether the people living in the 
restricted area were in any way abstainers 
more than in licensed districts, he answered, 
" Oh, no ; I am sorry to say not." 

The United Kingdom Alliance claim* that 
the case of Bessbrook, a linen manufacturing 
town of 4,000 inhabitants, is a striking 
example of the blessings of Local Prohibi- 

* Th$ Alliance Budget, p. 22. 

tion. We will confine our comment to the re- 
production of the following letter from the 
Rector of Bessbrook, dated January 6th, 
1908 : — 

I can give you any information you may require 
about Bessbrook. I have been rector for the past 
seven and a half years, but before coming here I knew 
all about it as my native place is just fourteen miles 
from it. The founders of Bessbrook determined to 
exclude from it the three P's ; the pawn-office, public- 
house, and police barracks. The former two are still 
absent, but the police barracks is here for the last ten 
years. There are public-houses near it ; one at Millvale, 
ten minutes walk ; multitudes in Newry, forty-five 
minutes walk. The Workhouse is beside Newry. I am 
one of the Chaplains. Bessbrook is, and has been ever 
since I knew it, the reverse of " a teetotal Paradise." 
Drunkenness is very common, and convictions at Newry 
Petty Sessions are frequent. There is a fair amount of 
crime. You may take it for granted that the gaols at 
Armagh and Dundalk always have some Bessbrook 
people in them. In saying this, I do not wish to re- 
present it as being worse than any other manufacturing 
town of the same size, but it is clearly no better. There 
is much poverty through the idleness of many who could 
work but will not, and disease is prevalent. I was in 
England at the time of the General Election, and was 
amused at the notion that I had come from the most 
exemplary place in the British Islands." 

If the Prohibition areas in Britain were 
vastly superior in comfort and general well- 
being to the licensed areas, this state would 
be a strong testimony to the value of absti- 
nence, but that fact would have no bearing 
whatever on the question as to whether the 
democratic power of Local Option would be 
generally exercised. An interesting incident 

bearing on this point is furnished by the case 
of Port Sunlight — the model village of 
Messrs. Lever Bros. In October, 1900, an 
inn was opened in the village on strictly Tem- 
perance lines. It was so conducted for nearly 
two years, when a request was made that 
alcoholic drinks should be sold. The matter 
was put to a vote of the adult population 
of the village, when, on a large poll, 80 per 
cent, of the votes cast were in favour of alcohol 
being introduced. If a people living under 
such conditions as the inhabitants of Port 
Sunlight do, desire to have the convenience 
of a liquor shop, it seems as if there would 
be little chance of carrying Local Prohibition 
in less fortunately circumstanced localities. 

Short of the total suppression of licenses 
in a locality is the option of reducing the 
number. Nothing in connection with licensing 
statistics is more unsatisfactory than the 
relation between the number of licenses and 
the convictions for drunkenness. From these 
statistics it is an easy matter to show that a 
reduction in the number of licenses, to use 
the words of Mr. Gladstone, "if it pretends 
to the honour of a remedy is little better than 
an imposture.' ' We will give one comparison, 
taking two towns in every respect fairly com- 
parable, namely, the two Lancashire 
boroughs of Accrington and Nelson. The 
towns are but twelve miles apart, fairly equal 
in size, both cotton weaving centres. The 
figures as to number of licenses, convictions 

for drunkenness, etc., are as follows* : — 

On Off for 

Population Licenses Licenses Clubs Drunk'nss 

Accrington ..43,122 93 31 10 144 

Nelson '. 34,816 15 17 16 202 

Accrington —One conviction per 300 of population. 

„ One license to 347 of population. 

Nelson — One conviction per 162 of population. 

„ One license to 1,025 of population. 

Such contrasts as these might be given by 
the hundred. There are many reasons which 
might be suggested to account for the paradox. 
The stringency of police supervision varies 
in different districts. The number of unlicensed 
drinking- places in the case of Nelson, cited 
above, is more than the number of public 
houses. In Accrington the number of clubs 
is less than one-ninth the number of licensed 
premises. These facts no doubt have a 
bearing on the drunkenness of each 
The suppression of a license will not destroy 
the drink appetite. It will, as we have shown, 
decrease the consumption of drink by only 
that amount which is consumed indifferently 
because the public house offers the opportunity. 
But, even this proportion of drink is not stopped 
by the suppression of a license here and there 
when ample facilities still remain. But those 
who will have drink — and these are the very 
people who require strict regulation — will 
find other means, if jj their former facilities 
are removed. The truth of this, and therefore 

* Licensing Statistics, 1906. 

the hopelessness of saving the heavy drinker 
by the suppression of licenses, was very force- 
fully stated by Mr. Asquith when introducing 
the Licensing Bill on February 27th, 1908. 
He said : — 

For the past few months not a week has passed 
that I have not had brought to my notice cases in 
which a suppression of a license under the Act of 1902^; 
has been followed almost immediately by the upgrowth 
of a club, not in the same premises, but very often 
next door, carrying on precisely the same business, 
often tied to the same brewer, who finances the whole 
affair — (cheers) — frequented by the same class of 
persons, the only difference being that no license duty 
was paid and that there are no restrictions as to the 
hours of opening and closing. Such places are often 
occupied during the whole of Sunday, sometimes in 
betting and gambling, as well as drinking, and there is 
no effective police supervision. That is a monstrous 
evil. It is a bad thing in the interest of the community, 
and it is a thoroughly unfair thing in the interests of the 
trade. I can quite understand the indignation — it 
seems a perfectly legitimate indignation — which is felt by 
those interested in the trade when they find that they 
have contributed to a compensation fund for the sup- 
pression of public-houses, and yet the moment one is 
suppressed a club springs up which carries on exactly 
the same business. — (Cheers.) 

" The mere limitation of numbers — the idol 
of Parliament — if it pretends to the honour 
of a remedy is little better than imposture." 
Our survey of the world-wide experience of 
this policy shows how true are those expres- 
sive words. 


Chapter XIII. 

" Disinterested " Management. 

The most sanguine supporter of Local 
Option will admit that if the operation of 
such a law realises all his expectations a 
great volume of drinking will still remain for 
treatment. Though comparatively little suc- 
cess has followed past efforts at legislative or 
public regulation of the traffic, it is not out- 
side the bounds of reasonable hope that 
some system of control could be devised 
which would reduce the abuses of drinking 
to a minimum. Local Option, as we have 
admitted, may be of partial benefit, but 
some method of control is required for the 
traffic in the districts where Local Prohibi- 
tion cannot be enforced. The great weak- 
ness of the position of the Temperance 
Party is that it has no plan for dealing with 
the traffic except by Local Prohibition. 
Where there is most need for something 
to be done to lessen drunkenness, the Tem- 
perance Party's one proposal cannot be 
applied. The figures given in preceding 
chapters prove in regard to the United States, 
Canada, New Zealand and Australia, 
that though additional areas are coming 

under Local Prohibition, there is a more 
than corresponding increase of drinking in 
the non-Prohibition districts. To deal with 
this is the great problem of temperance re- 
form, in so far as public regulation or con- 
trol of the traffic can lessen indulgence. 

It is admitted that the opportunity to 
some extent makes the drinker ; and when 
to the opportunity is added encouragement, 
we get a considerable amount of drinking, 
which might be abolished if the opportunity 
and the encouragement were lessened. In 
order to deal with this particular phase of the 
question many schemes have been tried and 
proposed, some of which have failed, Some 
have achieved a certain measure of success, 
but none has so far established itself as a 
completely satisfactory method. 

But the lessons of both the failures and 
of the moderate successes are valuable. In 
such a great question as this, experience 
must be the teacher, and we can only expect 
to evolve a practical and satisfactory system 
after many failures. 


In recent years public attention has been 
prominently directed to what is called the 
Scandinavian system. Under this system 
the sale of spirits is in the hands of a com- 
pany endowed with a monopoly for a par- 
ticular town by the licensing authority, 
which is the magistracy acting on the advice 
of the Town Council and Chief of Police. 


Generally speaking, in Norway and Sweden, 
this company system in towns, controls 
the sale of spirits, and in the country dis- 
tricts Prohibition prevails. Though the prin- 
ciple underlying the Swedish (or Gothenburg) 
system and the Norwegian system is the same, 
namely, the elimination of private profit, there 
are important differences of detail in the two 

We desire neither to praise not to condemn 
the Scandinavian system. It was a pioneer 
on a very difficult road, and it would be 
surprising if all had been perfectly easy and 
successful. There is a voluminous literature 
dealing with the Scandinavian system, but 
unfortunately nearly all of it is written in 
a strongly partisan spirit. But the critic 
who brings to the consideration of the sub- 
ject a desire to discover, not a complete 
solution of the liquor control question, but 
some results which may help towards pro- 
gress in that direction, will find much to help 

In the first half of the last century Norway 
and Sweden were the most drunken 
countries in Europe. Practically every 

family had its spirit still. In 1855 a very 
important Licensing Act was . passed for 
Sweden. The domestic still became illegal, 
and the power was given to the commune to 
decide " not only in what manner, and within 
what limits, the trade should be carried on, 


but also whether it might take place at all 
within its jurisdiction." The parish meet- 
ing was to be the deciding authority as to the 
issue of licenses. This power has been largely 
exercised, and Local Prohibition of the sale 
of spirits is the general practice throughout 
rural Sweden. Eighty per cent, of the popu- 
lation live outside the towns. The density 
of population is very small, the average num- 
ber of persons to the square mile being only 
thirty for the whole country. 

For years after the extensive adoption of 
Local Prohibition in the country districts, 
the towns remained in their former condi- 
tion of drunkenness. In 1865 the system of 
disposing of license by auction was super- 
seded in Gothenburg by what is now known 
as the Gothenburg system. The system, 
briefly described, is that all licenses for the 
sale of spirits in a town are handed over as 
a monopoly to a company formed for the 
purpose of working them. The company 
is to have no financial interest beyond receiv- 
ing the ordinary rate of interest (which in 
Sweden is 6 per cent, and in Norway 5 per 
cent.), and the profits are to be devoted to 
purposes of public utility. The fundamental 
idea is the elimination of the incentive of 
private profit. A considerable freedom is 
allowed to the companies to frame regula- 
tions, but these bye-laws must be approved 
by the Municipal Council. The licenses are 
granted for short periods, five years in Norway, 

and three in Sweden, except in the smaller 
towns, when one year completes the 
term. The governor can at any time, on 
emergency, order the closing of the public 
houses. At the end of the term of license 
the popular vote may refuse renewal. It 
should be borne in mind that the Company 
system applies to the sale of spirits only. 
There is practically free trade in beer and 
wine, a person being able to obtain a license 
for a very small sum. 

There is a distinction between the methods 
of distributing the profits in the two 
countries. In Norway, no part of the profits 
may go to the relief of the rates. In Sweden, 
as a rule, the municipality receives seven- 
tenths, the general government two-tenths, 
and one-tenth goes to the local agricultural 
society. The idea of giving some portion of 
the profits to the general government and 
to agriculture is to benefit the country districts 
which, being themselves under Prohibition, 
have to obtain their liquor from the towns. 

The Company system — known as the 
Samlag — became the law in Norway in 1871. 
It was not until 1894 that the principle of 
local control was enacted. The Act of 1894 
gives to the towns (a) the option of a prohibi- 
tion of the retail trade in spirits, (b) Samlag 
management. The reversion to private license 
is not allowed. When it is remembered 
that this Act was passed after twenty-three 


years of experience of the Samlag system, 
it may be assumed that with all its 
short-comings, that system was con- 
sidered to be very superior to private license. 
When the Act was passed in 1894 
there was a Samlag in practically every 
town in Norway. By the operation of Local 
Option votes, 33 of these towns are now under 
spirit prohibition, and 26 under the Samlag. 
Seven towns which at one time were under 
Prohibition have by the popular vote re- 
introduced the Samlag. 

The Norwegian system provides for the 
distribution of profits in the following manner : 

1. To the State, 65 per cent. 

2. To the Municipality, in lieu of higher license 
duties now abolished, 15 per cent. 

3. To objects of public utility, not chargeable to 
the rates, but operating as counter attractions to the 
public-house, 10 per cent. ; to towns, 10 per cent. ; 
and to the surrounding country districts 20 per cent. 

Since the establishment of the Samlags, 
about £1,400,000 have been expended under 
heading (3) viz. : on " objects of public bene- 
fit." For nine years past the proportion 
accruing to the State has been set apart till 
1910 to form the nucleus of an Old Age Pension 
Fund. The fund now amounts to over 

Having very briefly outlined the features 
of the Scandinavian systems, we will now 
proceed to enquire how far the systems 
have succeeded in promoting temperance. 
It is not claimed that all the undoubted in- 

crease of temperance in Scandinavia is due 
to the company system. There has been 
carried on during the past fifty years a very 
active temperance propaganda which has 
educated the people to use their licensing 
powers. But this alone cannot account for 
the reduction in the consumption of liquor 
which has changed Scandinavia from being 
the most drunken to one of the most sober 
countries in Europe. 

The following table gives the consump- 
tion of beer and spirits per head of the popula- 
tion in Sweden and Norway for certain years : 

















. — 






















21 'O 

3 '9 













The reduction in the consumption 

of spirits 

has been 

greater in Norway and 


since 1874, 

than in any other country. The 

following table may be of interest : — 



Consumption of Proof Spirit per Head of 


Imperial Gallons. 
1875 1903 

Sweden 3*06 . . 1 -65 

Norway 1 '47 . . 07 

Belgium 1*85 . . 1-19 

Holland 2*05 .. 172 

Germany 1 "23 . . 1 76 

Austria 0*82 . . 2*64 

France 0*93 .. 1*56 

United Kingdom 1*36 .. 0*99 

United States .. 1*30 .. 1-22 

The year 1875 marks the real beginning 
of the work of the Samlags in Norway. The 
striking decline in the consumption of spirits 
in Norway and Sweden, when compared with 
the corresponding figures of other countries, 
points to the operation of some influence 
in the former countries which has not been 
operating in the latter. The only reasonable 
suggestion that can be offered is that the 
system must be mainly responsible. It might 
be added further that this reduction in the 
consumption of spirits in Scandinavia has 
been concurrent with considerable commercial 

Figures as to arrests for drunkenness in 
Scandinavia are frequently cited as proof 
that more drunkenness prevails under the 
company system than in Great Britain. Such 
statistics are of no value. For instance, the 
arrests for drunkenness in Portland, Maine, 
" where not one drop of liquor can be ob- 
tained " in 1898 were 42 per thousand of the 

population, or eight times higher than in. 
Cardiff. Or to give a Norwegian comparison, 
Bergen, which is a Samlag town, shows 
average arrests for drunkenness per iooa 
population 25*5 ; whereas St avenger, which 
has Spirit Prohibition, shows 34*4 of similar 
arrests. Bergen, under the company system,, 
has little more than half the drunkenness, 
judged by arrests, of Portland under total 
Prohibition. In considering the question of 
arrests for drunkenness in Scandinavia 
many things have to be taken into account, 
but two points should be specially remem- 
bered, namely, that there is no company con- 
trol of the sale of beer, and that towns are- 
the drinking centres for the wide Prohibition 
districts all around. 

Far more valuable than police statistics 
on a matter of this sort is the opinion of 
disinterested men who have a knowledge of 
the facts from personal experience. Na 
Englishman who has investigated the work- 
ing of the Scandinavian systems has con- 
demned them except Prohibitionists and 
men connected with the liquor traffic. A 
Scotch Commission visited Norway in 1906 
at the request of the Scottish Temperance 
Legislation Board and in its Report it 
states : — 

A deep impression was caused in our minds by the 
emphatic declarations made by Norwegians of all 
classes in favour of the Samlag system. The un- 
hesitating approval of the system by Statesmen, 

Clergymen, Physicians, Town Councillors, Police, 
Press, Employers, Labour Leaders, and Working- 
men, was very remarkable. But more significant 
than this was the agreement among " Totallists " and 
Prohibitionists that the Samlag was a powerful aid 
to sobriety, inasmuch as it helped to restrain exces- 
sive drinking, and thereby raised the moral standing 
of every town in which it was at work. It is hardly 
possible to represent by the mere written word, the 
-earnestness and sincerity with which grey-headed vet- 
erans in the campaign against drunkenness testified 
to the power of the Samlag as a reforming agency, 
and as a step towards their own ideal. 

Dr. E. R. Gould, Special Commissioner 
of the United States Labour Department, who 
undertook an investigation into the Scandi- 
navian system at the request of his Government, 
came back a most enthusiastic supporter 
of the system. The Chief Constable of Gothen- 
burg states that the change wrought by the 
system is like the change from night to day. 


Chapter XIV. 

Trust Companies in Britain. 

The movement for the company control 
of public houses, somewhat on the lines of 
the Scandinavian method, has made some 
progress in Great Britain. The number of 
Trust Companies in England, Wales, and 
Ireland, affiliated to the Central Association! 
was (April, 1907) 33 ; and the number in 
Scotland was 5, making a total of 38 Trust 
Companies. The number of public houses- 
under Trust management was 233, as compared 
with 206 in 1906, and 33 in 1902. The com- 
bined capital amounted to £527,000. 

It must be admitted that the Trust in this- 
country has worked under great difficulties. 
The Trust has no statutory authority or 
powers other than those of the ordinary 
license. It has no monopoly, and it is not 
in association with the local authority, nor 
has it the support of a strong public sym- 
pathy. The usual financial basis of the- 
Trust company is the payment of a maxi- 
mum dividend of 5 per cent, with provision, 
for depreciation and sinking fund. Although, 
the idea is supposed to be the elimination, 
of private interest, the Trust offers a finan- i 

oial temptation quite equal to that of the 
average brewery share. It is doubtful if, 
generally speaking, the public houses run by 
the Trust are better conducted than the ordinary 
"better class of public house. 

The declared intention of the advocates 
•of " Disinterested Management " is, as we 
T have stated, to eliminate, as far as possible, 
personal and private interest in the sale of 
<lrink. "It is proposed to do this by author- 
ising the licensing authorities to grant all 
the licenses, which they have determined to 
issue in a given locality, to a body of suit- 
able persons who are prepared to undertake 
their disinterested management under care- 
fully considered statutory conditions.' ' \ The 
adoption of this system, it is claimed, would 
. cause all pushing of the sale of drink to 
*V' -cease, and all questionable practices in con- 
nection with public houses to disappear. The 
perfect disinterestedness of those who have 
invested their money in these Public House 
Trusts is assumed with the innocence of a 
most unusual faith in human nature. The 
magistrates are to have power to reduce the 
number of licenses, and we are assured that 
the magistrates will find in the shareholders 
of the Trust Public Houses earnest supporters 
of every effort at curtailment and reduction. 

The purpose of the advocates of Disinter- 
ested Management carried out to the extent 
of their desires is that after the expiration 


of a Time Limit all licenses shall lapse, and 
that all such as it may be decided to re- 
new shall be entrusted to a specially con- 
stituted body of suitable persons who would 
provide the capital required, upon which they 
would receive a moderate rate of interest. 
The first charge upon the profits, after pay- 
ment of interest on capital, should be the 
formation of a reserve fund equal in amount 
to the capital of the managing body. The 
object of forming this fund would be to 
secure that if it were afterwards decided to 
abolish a license, the fund would repay the 
capital to the management body. It is fur- 
ther claimed that as the interest upon the 
reserve fund would go a long way towards 
paying the 5 per cent, return on the capital, 
the pecuniary interest of the company in the 
sale of diink would be reduced to a mini- 
mum. The profits beyond the allotment 
already noted should go to the National Ex- 
chequer in the first instance, and should not 
in any way be used to relieve the local rates. 
Other stated objects are that the Trust Houses 
should be managed so that : 

1. Only the best drink that can be obtained 
in the open market will be sold. 

2. It will not be to the interest of the man- 
ager to push the sale of intoxicants; he will 
receive no commission on the sale of intoxi- 
cating liquors, but will be paid a fixed salary 
with commission on the sale of food and non- 


intoxicants, or a bonus for good manage- 

3. The public houses will be refreshment- 
houses, and not merely drinking bars. Food 
and non-intoxicants will be supplied as readily 
as intoxicants and during the same hours. 

Such in brief is the proposal of " Disinter- 
ested Management " carried out to the full 
extent and intention. 

The Public House Trust Companies now 
working are efforts to embody the same 
principles on voluntary lines, while waiting 
for the legislative monopoly they desire. It 
must be admitted that experiments on a 
very small scale, mostly with country public 
houses, are not sufficient to justify conclu- 
sions as to what would be the results in 
other circumstances. One Trust public house 
in a town, where all the other houses are of 
the ordinary sort, cannot be expected to make 
a revolution. But when every allowance has 
been made for the difficulties of a partial and 
hampered experiment, the results of the working 
of the Trust Public Houses in Great Britain 
do not warrant the claim that the system 
will eliminate private interest, secure dis- 
interested management, and reduce drinking 
to a minimum. 

The Peoples' Refreshment House Associa- 
tion, which has the Bishop of Chester at its 
head, has sixty houses under its manage- 
ment, and it has been so far successful as to 

pay the maximum dividend of 5 per cent, 
each year since 1899 ; and at the same time 
none of its houses has been prosecuted. The 
local Trust Companies affiliated to the Cen- 
tral Public House Association, of which 
there are 38 altogether, have not yet been so 
successful in combining temperance and 
dividends, or in securing either the one or 
the other. Two-thirds of the number have 
paid no dividend ; twelve cannot even make 
a profit ; while a fair number of the houses 
have become notorious by reason of more 
or less frequent appearances of the Com- 
pany's Secretary in the Police Courts for 
permitting drunkenness. The sums which 
any of the Trust Houses have been able to 
hand over for purposes of public utility are 

The two fatal features of the Trust system 
are that the incentive of personal profit is 
not eliminated, and effective control is im- 
possible. A dividend of 5 per cent., with a 
reserve fund taken from profits, as an ade- 
quate security for the capital, is a commer- 
cial investment far above the average to be 
found elsewhere. The directors receive fees 
in addition ; in the case of the Northumberland 
Trust Company, the directors' fees amounted 
to £105 for the year 1906, out of business 
making a profit of only £608 6s. id., and 
unable to pay a full dividend. Both the 
directors and shareholders have all the in- 
terests of the directors and shareholders of 

an ordinary commercial concern. The man- 
agement, too, is financially interested. The 
profit is made on the alcohol, and the man- 
ger cannot rid himself of the feeling that 
the ten per cent, profit is expected by the 
company in order to pay the dividend and 
the sinking fund. The very fact that there 
is such generous consideration shown for 
the interests of the shareholders proves that 
the investors do not regard themselves as 
philanthropists who have no other motive 
than to promote sobriety. A satisfactory 
scheme of public house management would 
be one which kept a public house open to 
meet a need which existed for the time being, 
but looked for the profit in the decline of drink- 
ing and the social benefit which would accrue 

The claim that the Trust Companies 
would support the reduction of licenses is 
opposed to reason. If the licenses to be 
abolished had been worked by the Trust 
sufficiently long to have allowed the full in- 
vested capital to accumulate in the reserve 
fund, perhaps the unwillingness to surrender 
the license would not be great. But even 
then there would be the pecuniary interest 
of the shareholders to the extent of sacrifi- 
cing a certain five per cent, for the probability 
of a much less remunerative investment else- 
where. But where there was not a reserve 
fund the motive of opposition to the abolition 
of licenses would be strong. If all the retail 

trade were under Trust Companies there 
would be a body of interested shareholders 
as large and as selfish as the present share- 
holders in private liquor companies. 

An even more serious objection to the 
Trust system than that it does not eliminate J 
private interest is that it cannot possibly 
secure effective control and management of 
the public houses. The Trust Companies 
would operate over a wide area, as do the 
present companies, and the shareholders 
would be non-residential, and the directors 
not in personal touch with the houses. As 
an instance of the state of things which 
would prevail universally if, after the expira- 
tion of the time limit, all public houses were 
put under Trust management, take the case 
of the Northumberland Trust Company 
which now owns seven houses in widely sep- 
arated parts of the country. It has been 
found impossible to supervise the houses. 
There is no local supervision of the manage- 
ment. The Secretary of the Trust is the 
license holder, and he is summoned for the 
sins of the manager of each public house. 
He has been repeatedly before the magis- 
trates for offences of which he had no per- 
sonal knowledge. With an extension of the 
number of houses under a common Trust, 
the difficulty of effective control would in- 

The political and municipal interests of 
the Trusts would be against the public wel- 

1 5 6 
fare. We have already shown that the 
financial stake of the shareholders would be in 
opposition to a popular desire to reduce 
facilities. The power of a Trust owning all 
the liquor shops in a town could be concen- 
trated with more effect than it is possible for 
the " Trade " to be at present. 

The proposal of " Disinterested Manage- 
ment " of the character we have been treating 
cannot be supported as either wise, desir- 
able, or practicable. It is opposed to the 
whole tendency of democratic government, 
which is not to relegate public businesses to 
private associations, however good may be 
the intentions of the latter. No scheme of 
control of the retail liquor shops could be 
disinterested which permitted a few private 
persons to make profits out of the working 
of a public monopoly. There never could 
be a guarantee that the companies would be 
actuated by a desire to promote temperance. 
Once the Trust system was universally es- 
tablished it would become a huge private 
interest opposed to public welfare. The 
whole idea of the Trust is opposed to the 
principle of public responsibility for the 
treatment of the drink question. To hand 
over the licenses to associations of presum- 
ably public spirited temperance reformers 
is an admission by the community of its own 
incapacity or want of courage. The Trust 
idea is wrong in its moral and its economic 
basis. The reduction of drinking to the low- 

est possible point at any given period can 
only be brought about by a plan which will 
recognise that some financial loss must be 
borne by the community in maintaining 
facilities for the satisfaction of the existing 
minimum demand. As we consider this point 
to be of importance, we may illustrate what 
is really meant. It is not only conceivable 
but highly probable that in many districts 
the demand for liquor shops will be of such 
dimensions as to prevent local veto being 
carried, and yet the demand will not be so 
large as to make the trade financially profit- 
able. A community convinced of the need 
of keeping the retail sale under strict control 
would be wise in carrying on this non-pay- 
ing trade in the way calculated to prevent 
abuse, rather than neglect to meet the need, 
which, if not satisfied under proper condi- 
tions would resort to disastrous ways. 
Nobody but the community could undertake 
such a non-paying business on any consider- 
able scale. The Trust certainly would not 
do this. As an instance, it may be mentioned 
that when the vote of the inhabitants decided 
to have a liquor license at Port Sun- 
light, the public house was handed over to 
the Public House Trust. This Trust re- 
linquished the house after some years be- 
cause they could not make the interest of 
4i per cent, on the capital. There is no 
doubt about the convenience of the license 

1 5 8 
to the village and to visitors, but the Trust 
does not exist to lose money to suit the 
public convenience. In this case the license 
was continued by Messrs. Lever Bros., 
though doing so involved a considerable 
annual loss. A firm like Lever Bros., with 
its interests in the place, can afford to do 
this. But in practically every other place 
the community only could do that ; and it 
would do so, if it recognised that by so 
doing it was preventing the demand from 
finding satisfaction in an unregulated club, 
or in some other way which would produce 
results socially disastrous. 

The removal of the evils of drinking is not 
going to be done without some sacrifice, 
and it is not to " Disinterested Management " 
taking a ten per cent, profit, we must look. 
The community must accept the responsi- 
bility for the existence of the traffic, and it 
must be prepared to face temporary financial 
loss for the sake of future social gain. 


Chapter XV. 

Public Control and Municipalisation. 

The Licensing Bill now (April, 1908) before 
Parliament aims at two things: first, a re- 
duction in the number of licensed premises, 
second, the restitution to the State of the 
monopoly value of the licenses. The first 
object is to be secured by a systematic re- 
duction of the number of licenses until the 
number remaining conform to a fixed pro- 
portion to population ; the second object is 
to be realised by a Time Limit, at the end of 
which every then existing license lapses. The 
Bill, very wisely we think, lays down no 
plans for the future regulation of the traffic, 
leaving that for the Parliament of fourteen 
years hence. 

If the Bill becomes law in its present form 
generally, then at the end of the Time Limit 
what is to happen ? The opportunity will be 
one for inaugurating a great scheme of tem- 
perance and social reform such as never was 
given to the nation before. Unfettered in 
any way by the obligation of considering 
any private or vested interests, the nation 
can begin anew to regulate and control the 
Liquor Traffic with all the experience of the 

list four centuries of regulation to guide it. 
We may take it for granted that public 
opinion fourteen years hence will not be 
favourable to the State Prohibition of the 
liquor traffic. But it is likely that by then 
the sentiment in favour of Local Option will 
have grown to the extent of warranting 
Parliament in giving localities the option of 
voting for " license " or "no license." This 
Option will no doubt be restricted by safe- 
guards to protect minorities against unreason- 
able tyranny. Taking it for granted that 
Local Option will be conferred, and allow- 
ing for the growth of temperance opinion 
in the meantime through the spread of edu- 
cation and social reforms, it is safe to pre- 
dict that even then the use of the power 
will not materially lessen the number of 
licenses and the amount of the traffic which 
will then exist. 

The question then arises, what is to be the 
method of future control ? A number of 
choices will be open. The monopoly value 
of the license will be the property of the 
State. There will be the choice of licensing 
a private individual as at present, but adding 
to the cost of the license, a sum equal to the 
annual value of the monopoly. There will 
be the choice of recognising by law the 
Trust Companies, and conferring upon them 
a monopoly to work all the licenses in a 
district, subject of course as in the former 
case, to the monopoly value being paid to 

the public. A third choice will be to confer 
the monopoly to work the licenses upon the 
local authority. Let us consider each of these 
three possible courses. 

There would be no changes in the system 
of sale as we have it to-day, by the adoption 
of the first course. The only difference 
would be that the publican would pay a 
higher license duty. It is scarcely likely that 
this of itself would stimulate the publican 
to increased activity, because the increase 
in the license duty would only be in proportion 
to his increased trade due to the lessening 
of competition. But it is not the publican 
only we have to consider ; an interest more 
selfish and more soulless than his will operate. 
The houses will still be mainly owned by the 
brewers, and every successful legislative effort 
to reduce the consumption of drink, and 
the increase of temperance from other causes, 
will stimulate the brewers to greater activity 
in pushing their sales. The onerous conditions 
on which the license holders have their ten- 
ancies of tied houses to-day are such as to 
make it difficult for the publican to make 
a living except by encouraging custom by 
doubtful and illegal attractions. 

But it may be urged that the tied house 
system could be abolished by the licensing 
authority making it a condition of the 
license that the house should not be owned 
by a brewer. But even that, which is not 
possible, would not prevent the brewer from 


getting the publican under his control. The 
system which prevails in Scotland and London, 
of brewers and dealers advancing loans to 
the license holders is just as effective for the 
brewers' and dealers' purpose. Moreover, 
if it were possible to ensure that license holders 
should be quite free from financial obligations 
to the brewers, the desire of the brewers 
to maintain their trade and profits would 
lead to other methods ; and the formation 
of rings and trusts by them would place 
the retailer at the mercy of a monopoly for 
the supply. There is no escaping from 
the conclusion that the publican will find 
his profits gradually getting less, and the 
incentive to push his trade will increase in 
proportion as the rate of profit declines. 
To continue the system of licensing private 
persons, who engage in the trade to make 
as much money as they can, is not calculated 
to secure the best results from the point of 
view of temperance reform. 

The second choice is the Trust system — 
but differing from the system as it is in 
operation to-day in so far as it will then 
work under public sanction, under statutory 
regulations, and will have a monopoly in the 
district it works. With these changes, we 
do not think the Trust system a desirable 
form of control, for reasons which have been 
fully stated in a previous chapter. 

We now come to the third choice, namely, 
Public Control or Municipal isation. 


As it is intended to deal with this proposal 
at some length, it is important at the outset 
to indicate the limits of reform expected 
from the Municipalisation of the Drink 
Traffic. The proposal is not put forward as 
a complete and final scheme for solving the 
drink question in all its aspects. We roughly 
grouped the chief causes of drinking under 
three heads: (i) industrial and social con- 
ditions ; (2) social customs ; (3) facilities and 
the method of supply. Municipalisation is 
put forward as a scheme for effecting reform 
in that proportion of drinking and drunken- 
ness which is due to facilities and the method 
of supply. After all that is possible has been 
done by reducing facilities, either by a 
statutory limitation of licenses or by Local 
Option, there will remain a considerable 
volume of traffic which will have to be regu- 
lated or managed in some way. Municipa- 
lisation is the best way to control it, so as to 
reduce the evils and abuses to the lowest 
possible dimensions. 

The proposal for municipal control did 
not originate with the Socialists. Thirty- 
one years ago Mr. Joseph Chamberlain put 
forward such a proposal before a Committee 
of the House of Lords. He submitted to 
them a well-considered scheme for the Muni- 
cipalisation of the Drink Traffic in Birming- 
ham. He was supported by resolutions of 
the City Council, the Board of Guardians, 
and the local branch of the United Kingdom 

Alliance. He so impressed the Committee 
that they reported to Parliament in favour 
of legislative powers being given to Birming- 
ham to carry out Mr. Chamberlain's scheme. 
The Committee considered that the scheme 
offered the following advantages, namely, 
(i) local control ; (2) reduction of public 
houses ; (3) elimination of private interest 
in sales ; (4) better liquor ; (5) removal of 
liquor influence from elections ; (6) reduc- 
tion in drunkenness ; (7) relief, directly and 
indirectly, of the rates. 

About the same time Mr. Chamberlain 
moved the following resolution in the House 
of Commons : — 

That it is desirable to empower Town Councils of 
Boroughs under the Municipal Corporations Acts to 
acquire compulsorily on payment of fair compensation, 
the existing interests in the retail sale of intoxicating 
drink within their respective districts ; and, thereafter, 
if they see fit, to carry on the trade for the convenience 
of the inhabitants ; but so that no individual shall have 
any interest in or derive any profit from the sale. 

This resolution was lost by a majority of 
52, among those supporting it being the 
late Sir Wilfred Lawson, who in the course 
of the debate had said, " Although I do not 
agree with everything in this resolution, 
there can be no doubt that it would, if passed, 
be the most deadly blow that this generation 
has seen struck at the liquor traffic as it at 
present exists/ ' 

Mr. Chamberlain's plan was for the Cor- 
poration to acquire all the existing licenses 
at market value, and the profits he cal- 

i6 5 
culated, after allowing for reduction of con- 
sumption, would, after payment of interest 
on the borrowed capital, leave sufficient to 
pay off the loans in ten years' time. The 
reasons which Mr. Chamberlain gave for 
preferring this scheme of Municipalisation 
to the Gothenburg system are interesting 
as bearing on the competitive claims of the 
Trust system and Municipalisation. He 
said : 

In England, where we are beginning <U novo, I would 
rather go to headquarters, and I believe that greater 
security for the conduct of the business would be afforded 
if it were managed by a really representative authority, 
subject to public control and criticism, than if it were in 
the hands of a semi-private trust, even although that 
trust might be originally established on purely philan- 
thropic grounds. 

Municipalisation is frankly based on the 
admission that the public house is a public 
convenience which the public will have. It 
is recognised that the trade is one which, un- 
less strictly controlled, may lead to serious 
evils, but if the sale of drink be conducted 
under proper safeguards then it meets what 
public opinion considers (whatever indi- 
vidual opinion may be) a perfectly legitimate 
desire. The idea of Municipalisation, then, 
is to provide for the satisfaction of a reason- ^ 
able indulgence in drink, but to prevent the 
abuse of it. The incentive of gain is the 
motive of all private business. Profits 
depend upon sales ; the business man is in 
trade to do as much business as he can. It 

1 66 
is just the same with those who are in the 
liquor traffic. These men are neither better 
nor worse than other business men. The 
brewer and publican do not deliberately en- 
gage in the trade to ruin their customers. 
But, unfortunately, the more drink they sell 
the more ruin they spread. This incentive 
of gain, this private interest in pushing the 
sale of drink is the great difficulty in the way 
of effectively regulating it. The customer 
with the drink-appetite finds the publican's 
business interest an ever present help. The 
publican has not only his own interest to 
promote, but he has in most cases the even 
stronger pressure of the brewer behind him. 
If the financial interest of the seller in the 
sale of drink could be eliminated, if a 
system could be established where it would 
be to the interest of everybody associated 
with the sale to discourage the sale, then 
undoubtedly, much drinking, and practically 
all drunkenness on licensed premises would 
be abolished. But, as General Neale Dow 
said, " We shall never settle the drink question 
so long as there is money in it "; and we might 
add, when the money is out of it, the whole 
problem has been by no means settled. 

The reasons which support municipalisa- 
tion in general apply to the Municipalisation 
of the Liquor Trade. The evolution of the 
public regulation of this traffic has followed 
the lines of the public regulation of other 
requirements. The unregulated private 

x6 7 
control of any business produces grave evils, 
and is a public danger. Probably more lives 
are lost every year from an impure milk 
supply than from drinking. We have 
elaborate regulations to ensure a pure supply. 
But the private interest of the milk trade 
is opposed to the public interest, and at 
this moment the farmers and dairymen are 
organising an opposition to further legisla- 
tive regulation. The same thing applies 
to the food supply. Adulterated food and 
diseased meat are sold to the public in spite 
of inspectors — and all for the profit of 
the dealers, not because they desire to kill 
the people. 

The unregulated competition of commer- 
cialism, the motive of which is private profit, 
was responsible for the terrible industrial 
conditions of the pre-Factory legislation 
days. The Public Health Acts, which aim at 
ensuring sanitary conditions for tenants and 
the public generally, have been necessary 
because it was proved that the personal in- 
terest of the property owner was against 
the public welfare, and that he would permit 
grossly insanitary conditions to exist for 
the sake of saving his own pocket at the 
cost of the health or lives of others. The 
safety of public health has demanded the 
State interference with private enterprise 
in almost every business. It was not found 
to be safe to entrust a body of shareholders 
to form a water company without protect- 

ing the consumers by elaborate regulations. 
But the conflict of interest between the 
private owners of public services and the 
community has shown itself not only as a 
danger to public health, but in the form 
of serious public inconvenience. Hence, 
private monopolies like gas works, tram- 
ways, railway companies, etc., are permitted 
to work only under conditions and limita- 
tions imposed by the State for the protec- 
tion of the community. Why are those 
regulations imposed ? Simply and solely be- 
cause the motive of the companies is to make 
profit ; and the incentive of profit leads to 
the sacrifice of public convenience and the 
merciless exploitation of the public. 

All regulation and control of private enter- 
prise, whether it has taken the form of Factory 
Laws, Public Health Acts, Food Adultera- 
tion Regulations, Company Law, Railway 
Control or whatever other form, has 
been to protect the public against private 
greed, which if left unchecked would make 
the most necessary public service a danger 
to the community. In no respect, unless 
it be in degree, does the regulation of the 
Drink Traffic differ from other forms of State 
regulation of private business in the public 

The illustration and the appeal to pre- 
cedent in support of the Municipalisation of 
the Drink Traffic may be carried still further. 
Regulation was the first form of State inter- 

ference with private enterprise. But regu- 
lation has never succeeded in preventing 
abuses and in completely protecting the 
public. Scarcely a session of Parliament 
passes without additional Factory Acts, in- 
tended to strengthen existing powers for 
the protection of the workers against the 
financial interest of the employer. Local 
authorities every year promote Bills to 
obtain more effective powers to compel 
property owners to give protection to their 
tenants and the public. The Board of 
Trade is ever increasing its authority over 
private companies, and these companies are 
vigorously opposing further regulation, 
because it touches their profits. But regu- 
lation upon regulation never secures com- 
plete protection, nor a satisfactory measure 
of public convenience. So the State and 
the Local Authority have gone beyond 
regulation, and, recognising that the anta- 
gonism of interest between the private owners 
and the public was the rpot of the difficulty, 
have eliminated all private financial gain by 
the public acquisition of the ownership and 
control of certain concerns. The need for 
regulation was private profit : the reason for 
public ownership was the impossibility of 
mere regulation, however stringent, secur- 
ing satisfaction for the public, so long as 
private persons could make money out of 
public requirements. This demand for the 
supersession of private ownership owing to 

the failure of regulation, continues and 
grows. At this moment Royal Commissions 
and Committees are sitting to enquire into 
the questions of Canal and Railway Nationa- 
lisation, and these demands are coming from 
the commercial classes who, tired of trying 
to get concessions from the companies, see 
that the motive of private profit must be 
eliminated from railway management before 
the public interest can be the supreme con- 
sideration. The Drink Traffic is completely 
analogous to all these other businesses and 
services which the State has had to regulate 
and ultimately own and control. Every one 
of the trades mentioned, if left uncontrolled, 
is capable of becoming as great a public 
danger as an unregulated Drink Traffic. 
The argument for State or public regula- 
tion and ownership of public service applies 
therefore with equal force to the Drink 


Chapter XVI. 

Municipalisation (continued). 

There are further points from experience 
and precedent which support the proposal 
to municipalise the drink traffic. The 
public ownership of services has been advo- 
cated on two grounds, namely, that the 
particular trade was of such a character that 
it should not be left to private control, and 
that the trade was a monopoly. Both these 
reasons support with great force the pro- 
posal to municipalise the drink traffic. The 
liquor trade is one which, in the interests of 
the community, should not be encouraged. 
Therefore it is obviously most foolish to 
allow it to remain in the hands of people 
who have no motive for being in the trade 
except to push it for profit. The public 
must provide for the satisfaction of the 
demand for liquor in moderation, so long 
as the people consider moderate drinking to 
be a legitimate and reasonable thing. 
Further, the liquor trade is largely a 
monopoly, both in its productive and its 
distributive departments. Figures as to the 
proportion of free to tied houses are not 
obtainable, but it is not probably outside the 

facts to put down the proportion of tied 
houses at 85 per cent, of the whole number. 
How brewing is rapidly passing into the hands 
of the big concerns may be seen from the 
following figures : — 

Number of Brewers " For Sale." 

Years 1880 1890 1900 1906 

Number .. 19040 12000 6290 5025 

The argument that only such businesses 
as deal in a single commodity, or those where 
there is no dependence upon the whims of 
fashion, are suitable for public management, 
supports the municipalisation of the liquor 
traffic. The drink traffic is a simple one, 
in the sense that a man knows exactly what 
he wants, and the publican knows exactly 
what to give him, which of course is not 
necessarily what the man wants. No' great 
variety of liquor is required to be stocked, 
and the liquor, we are told, gains virtue with 
age. The liquor traffic, from every point of 
view, by the test of every argument for general 
municipalisation, is eminently suitable for 

We admit that if the Licensing Bill now 
before the country becomes law, it will make 
it difficult during the working of the time 
limit to interfere with the operation of the 
statutory reduction and the compensation 
scheme. If an experiment in Municipalisa- 
tion were to be tried, it would involve the 
acquisition by the local authority of all the 
licenses in its area. This would mean 
direct financial payment to the license 

holders. But in view of the great import- 
ance of the public being in possession of all 
possible experience when they are called 
upon at the end of the time limit to decide 
the further method of control, it would be 
invaluable if in the meantime we could have 
one or two enterprising and competent 
local authorities try experiments in com- 
plete municipal control. It would be essen- 
tial that the municipality have a complete 
monopoly of the retail sale in its area ; a 
municipal public house, surrounded by others 
in private hands, is useless for forming con- 

If a municipality desired in the meantime 
to try such an experiment, Parliamentary 
sanction might be given for the acquisition 
of all the licenses by the commutation of the 
unexpired value of the licenses. A vote of 
the inhabitants would be necessary, so that 
the experiment might be assured of public 
support. We have not much faith, how- 
ever, in Parliament permitting any inter- 
ference with the time limit scheme when it 
is once in operation ; and, as we have stated 
already, the period of the time limit may be 
very profitably employed in educating public 
opinion, and getting it ready for action when 
the way for democratic control is free from 
all financial difficulties. 

At the end of the time limit, all licenses 
automatically lapse, and the extent and 
method of control of the future traffic ought 

to be determined by the people. We do not 
think it would be wise for Parliament then 
to impose upon every locality the obliga- 
tion to municipalise the retail traffic. To 
do that would be to invite disaster. In such 
a matter, admittedly beset with difficulties, 
it is important to move cautiously. The plan 
we would suggest is that the power of option 
to municipalise should be given, and this 
should be operative only after a very deci- 
sive vote of the inhabitants in favour. This 
option would be one of many. If municipal- 
isation were approved by such a strong vote 
in its support, it would indicate the existence 
in the locality of a temperance sentiment and 
public spirit without which initial experiments 
might prove unsuccessful. 

Temperance reform must follow on the 
lines of all real progress. The steps taken 
must be (i) gradual ; (2) democratic ; (3) 
moral. They must be gradual so that we do 
not move more quickly than experience 
justifies. They must be democratic so as 
to train the people to a sense of their duty 
and responsibility for social conditions. 
They must be moral in the sense that the 
proposed changes do not violate the popular 
sense of liberty and justice. 

Parliament should lay down the broad 
lines on which the Municipalisation of the 
Drink Traffic shall be carried out, but inside 
these, it is most important that liberty to 
experiment, liberty to make mistakes, liberty 

to rectify them, should be allowed to the 
locality. Above all else we want, in connec- 
tion with the treatment of the Drink Traffic, 
that experience which can only come from 
actual test. Only experiment can prove or 
disprove the theoretic arguments for and 
against the proposal in the abstract, though 
it is true that our experience of public con- 
trol in general has an instructive bearing on 
this particular question. 

The constitution of the local authority 
which is to manage the liquor traffic will be 
a matter for serious consideration. We are 
opposed to the creation of a special authority 
for the purpose. If that plan was adopted 
the elections would result in a contest be- 
tween fanatical teetotallers and the publicans, 
the former of whom would seek to discredit 
municipal management in the interests of 
prohibition, and the latter to secure the 
same end in the interests of the " trade." 
The Council is the proper authority to 
undertake this work, and as its duties are 
so varied, and the interests of the citizens 
who elect the Councils so diverse, the 
irink question would only be one lof the in- 
fluences deciding the election. If it were 
considered desirable, the Council might have 
power to form a statutory Committee for 
this purpose, with liberty to co-opt outside 
persons, though this is neither democratic in 
principle, nor calculated to secure that 
efficiency of management which comes from 

a sense of direct contact with the electorate. 
The whole tendency of local government is 
towards the unification of administration 
under one body. This must, by and bye, 
necessitate a considerable increase in the 
number of members of the larger councils, 
and the entrusting of departments of work 
to the Committees without any close super- 
vision by the general body. This is in no 
way undesirable. On the contrary it is 
likely to conduce to more effective control, 
as the members of the Councils, restricted 
to one or a very few departments of public 
work, will be able to keep more thoroughly 
in touch with the work. And their direct 
responsibility to the electorate will be in no 
way impaired. 

The question arises as to what Councils 
should have this power conferred or with- 
held, and we would suggest that the idea 
which should determine this, is to make the 
unit or area of management co-extensive 
with the boundaries of the Town, Urban, 
or Parish Council. This will attain two 
objects, both important from the point of 
view of efficient management. The area 
will be co-extensive with the local patriotic 
spirit, and it will not be too wide to secure 
effective oversight. Parish Councils we 
would not exclude, for, in our opinion, the 
rural parish is a convenient area, and the 
parish Councils are quite competent to do 
this work. It would be no more difficult 

work for a Parish Council to run a public 
house than for a committee of working 
men to manage a village co-operative store, 
which they are successfully doing in hun- 
dreds of cases to-day. The County Council, 
for many reasons, should have no authority 
in this matter. The area of its jurisdiction 
is too great, and the difficulty of securing 
democratic membership would be to the ad- 
vantage of the brewing fraternity. 

The Council, or its Committee, would frame 
regulations as to time of opening and closing ; 
it would fix prices and appoint the managers ; 
it would purchase the stock ; it would in fact 
have as much freedom of action in manage- 
ment as a Tramway Committee, which works 
within the four corners of its Parliamentary 
powers. The Licensing Magistrates might 
retain a supervising authority over the 
Council in so far as to ensure that the statu- 
tory conditions and limitations were not 

The elimination of private interest in the 
sale of drink demands of course that the ser- 
vants in the municipal drink trade shall have 
no incentive to push the sale. If the public 
and the Council have imbibed the essential 
idea of municipal liquor control, namely,' 
that success is to be measured in losses and 
not profits on the drink, there will be little 
difficulty in gaining the sympathetic co-opera- 
tion of the servants. Security of employment 
in some occupation under the Council should 


i 7 8 
be guaranteed so long as the servants faith- 
fully carry out their duties. To guard against 
the possibility of corruption the retail sales- 
man should have nothing whatever to do with 
buying the liquor. 

There are two other very important ques- 
tions which demand consideration, — the 
questions of profits, and of attractions. 
There are those who advocate the munici- 
palisation of the drink traffic as a means of 
securing larger profits for the community. 
Mr. Chamberlain made much of this. We 
are inclined to think that the likelihood of 
huge profits from the municipal public house 
is much exaggerated. The monopoly value 
of the license will already have been appro- 
priated by the State. This is the annual 
value which now goes to the brewer. The 
profits which a municipality might hope to 
make would have to come from the sale of 
drink. The frequency of the transfer of 
licenses now does not seem to indicate that 
the profits of the publican are very princely. 
The balance sheets of the Public House 
Trusts confirm this view. Few of them have 
so far succeeded in making any surplus at 
all. It must be remembered that the very 
reason for the municipalisation of the drink 
traffic is to reduce the sale of drink to the 
lowest possible dimensions. Standing ex- 
penses will remain the same though the sale 
of liquor falls, and the profits from the drink 
sold in the municipal public houses must 

decline if the object of municipalisation is 
realised. In fact, the real test of the suc- 
cess of municipalisation must be the re- 
duction of profits, and every loss upon 
the year's trading in liquor must be welcomed 
as an evidence of the success of the 
scheme. The community will look for the 
compensation for this loss of public money 
in the social advantage of a soberer people, 
much in the same way as we find the return 
for the expenditure upon drainage in the 
better health of the community. When all 
the licenses in a district are under municipal 
control it will be easy for the Council to close 
those houses which become unnecessary, or, 
in other words, to keep facilities equal to a 
strictly regulated demand. 

The profits from other causes would be 
less under municipal management. The 
quality of the liquor sold would be of a 
better and purer character, and the wages 
paid to the servants would, we hope, be 
higher than they are now under the private 
traders. But assuming that the trade was 
profitable, then the question would arise as 
to the disposal of these profits. The method 
advocated in some quarters is to put the 
local profits into a national fund from which 
distribution shall be made to the localities 
in grants proportionate to the population, 
and not in proportion to the profits the 
locality earns. It is also suggested that pro- 
hibition areas shall receive such grants, so 


that all incentive to continue the traffic for 
the 9ake of profits shall be removed. The 
grants received shall be spent by the locali- 
ties in providing counter attractions to the 
public houses. The system adopted by the 
Public House Trusts is to hand over the 
profits (if any) to local charities and religious 
bodies, but to exclude from participation all 
objects which can claim assistance from the 
rates. The idea of prohibiting the local 
rates from benefiting from the profits of the 
local drink traffic is to remove the possibility 
of the ratepayers encouraging the traffic from 
financial motives. 

The question as to whether the opportu- 
nities for social intercourse and recreation 
ought to be provided inside the public house 
or elsewhere as a counter attraction, is one 
on which differences of opinion exist. The 
most forceful objection to divorcing all 
attractions from the public houses, and giving 
to them the air of penetentiaries, is that if 
men who take drink in a social way, cannot 
have it in a public house with reasonable 
comfort, they will form clubs to satisfy their 
desires. There is a compromise possible 
between the two extremes. It would be 
undesirable to have attractions in connection 
with the public house, which might draw 
persons to whom drinking was no temptation, 
but while confining the business of the public 
house to the provision of refreshments 
(alcoholic and temperance) it would be in- 

advisable to make it so unattractive and 
repulsive as to drive people who desired 
alcoholic drinks to less desirable places. But 
for those who want social intercourse, and 
to whom the obtaining of liquor is of no 
account, institutions must be provided ; and 
the more attractive such are, the better 
for temperance reform. 

Although we do not desire to claim too 
much for the partial experiments in municipal 
public house keeping which have been tried, 
it may be interesting to describe briefly two 
of these experiments. 

The first municipal public house was that 
of the Birmingham Corporation at their 
Waterworks in the Elan Valley in Radnor- 
shire. The question of the liquor supply for 
the navvies engaged in this undertaking was 
settled by the Waterworks Committee of the 
Birmingham Corporation themselves apply- 
ing for a license for a canteen, which was 
granted on the condition that a manager was 
appointed who should be paid a fixed wage, 
and who should have no financial interest in 
the sale of drink. The Committee framed 
very stringent rules as to the conduct of the 
canteen. No credit was given ; no music or 
games were allowed ; the bar was closed 
during working hours ; the amount of liquor 
a man might have in one evening was limited ; 
women were not permitted to enter the bar. 
The financial results were remarkable. In 
three and a half years the net profits amounted 


to £3,262. These profits were devoted to 
the maintenance of the village institutions, 
the school, the hospital, and the public 
rooms (which proved a very effective counter 
attraction to the canteen). The universal 
testimony is that the management of the 
canteen greatly lessened the amount of 
drunkenness as compared with what might 
have been expected under the ordinary 
system. The Chief Constable of the county 
stated, " Drunkenness in the Elan Village is 
undoubtedly suppressed through the strin- 
gent rules and measures adopted by the can- 
teen, and further I have no hesitation in 
saying that it is attributable to these regula- 

The Harrogate Corporation tried a similar 
experiment at their Waterworks at Scargill, 
six miles from Harrogate. The rules were 
very similar to those adopted at Elan, and the 
results were equally satisfactory. The net 
profits averaged from £700 a year. So little 
drunkenness and rowdyism prevailed in the 
village that the services of a policeman were 
never required during the three years. 

These experiments prove that a Corporation 
Committee can run a public house ; that the 
elimination of private profit reduces drunken 
ness ; that the profits of the trade may be 
put to more useful purposes. But beyond 
this, they furnish little help towards the 
treatment of the drink control question in our 
centres of population. 


Chapter XVII. 

Advantages and Objections. 

We may now sum up some of the advan- 
tages which would come to the community 
from the municipalisation of the drink traffic. 

It would place the control of the traffic 
completely in the hands of the people of the 
locality. It would confer complete local option. 

It would ensure that the traffic which re- 
mained after local option had done all it 
could to reduce facilities, would be carried on 
free from the incentive of private gain. 

It would free the temperance sentiment of 
the locality, and enable the dimensions of the 
traffic to be kept under strict control. 

It would remove the influence of the liquor 
interest from politics. 

It would give full local option in regard 
to hours of opening and closing, Sunday closing, 
closing on election days. 

It would give freedom to the locality to 
make conditions as to the sale of liquor to 
young persons. 

It would dissociate gambling and immorality 
from public houses. 

It would give back to the community any 
profits which might be made, and these 
would be used to counteract the drink 


It would ensure better conditions of labour 
for the persons employed in the trade. 

It is a scheme in harmony with all the 
economic and social tendencies of the time, 
which point to the wisdom of public control 
as the means to eliminate the admitted evils 
of private profit-making. 

It is a scheme, which by frankly recognising 
that the demand for drink must be met, pro- 
poses to meet it in such a way as to satisfy 
all reasonable desire while preventing excessive 

It is a scientific and harmonious scheme 
of Temperance reform, which while adapted 
to present needs, is capable of progressive 
re-adaptation with the growth of public senti- 
ment on the question. 

We propose now to deal with a number 
of objections which have been put forward 
to the Municipalisation of the Drink Traffic. 

I. Four centuries of effort to regulate the 
traffic have proved that it cannot be regulated. 
It must be destroyed. 

Efforts to destroy the Drink Traffic have 
scarcely succeeded more brilliantly than 
legislative regulation. Common sense dictates 
that when a thing cannot be removed it 
must be endured as best we can. Regula- 
tion has failed to remove the evils of the 
traffic for the same reason that regulation 
has failed to remove the evils and abuses 
from other trades. Past regulation has 
never got to the root cause. It has left the 

i8 5 
traffic to be controlled and managed by deeply 
interested parties who have been interested 
in opposing regulation. Municipalisation 
would remove the cause of the failure of mere 
regulation of private interest. 

2. The elimination of private profit would 
not remove the desire to drink m 

It was never suggested that it would. The 
limitations of municipalisation have been 
frankly admitted. It is not a panacea. All 
that is claimed for it is, that it is the best 
and only practical way of dealing with the 
traffic which the public say shall exist after 
the powers of restriction have been fully 
exercised. The elimination of private gain 
will remove all the proportion of drinking 
which is due to encouragement under the 
system of private license. 

3. Municipalisation would substitute public 
cupidity for the present private interest. 

This is the only serious objection urged 
by opponents of municipalisation of the 
Liquor Traffic. If there were the prospects 
of large profits which might ease the burden 
of the ratepayers it would be a temptation 
to an ignorant and short-sighted community 
to encourage the traffic. But it would be 
the duty of Parliament, in laying down 
general conditions, to prevent the possibility 
of this abuse. Such suggestions as have 
already been made for the disposal of profits 
would be a sufficient safeguard. The success 
of any scheme depends upon the intelligence 

and sentiment behind it. It is reasonable to 
assume that a community which municipal- 
ised the Drink Traffic would do so because 
it desired to reduce the evils of it to a mini- 
mum. This motive would be a guarantee 
that the traffic would be conducted in stfch a 
way as to secure the desired effect. No 
community could afford to encourage drink- 
ing. It would, if it did, very soon dis- 
cover that this was a suicidal policy ; that the 
expense of dealing with the results of the 
abuse cost more than any profit derived from 
the trade. 

4. The Municipalisation of the Drink 
Traffic would corrupt local politics and make 
this question the dominating issue at all 

This objection is akin to the last. He 
is possessed of a vivid imagination who can 
picture the drink interest exercising a greater 
influence in local and national politics than 
it does to-day. The reason for this is that 
the brewers and the publicans have all their 
interests centred in the trade, and they fight 
with all the desperation that selfishness can 
generate. But if the traffic were municipalised, 
no elector would have a special financial 
interest in the traffic. Each individual's 
financial interest would be infinitesimal. 
He would have a far greater interest in keep- 
ing the traffic under strict control for the 
sake of the police and poor rate, as well as 
for the general welfare. The drink question 
would be but one of the many interests the 

i8 7 
elector would have, and his interest in that 
would be merged in the general questions 
of municipal government. The addition of 
this work to the duties of the local author- 
ity would attract men of public spirit into 
the public service, and the community would 
realise the need of such men for such an 
important work. The Municipalisation of 
the Drink Traffic would liberate local govern- 
ment from the influence of the men who now 
make " their trade their politics." 

5. It would implicate every citizen in such 
an unholy traffic. ' 

It would do this to no greater extent than 
every citizen is implicated to-day. We cannot 
denude ourselves of participation in the 
traffic. The liquor traffic is the largest con- 
tributor to the national revenue, and every 
teetotaller is implicated to that extent. The 
Temperance party are unanimous in support- 
ing the transfer of the monopoly value of 
the licenses to the community ; that is, they 
demand that they and their fellow citizens 
shall own the public house licenses. But we 
do not blame the teetotaller for being 
anxious to own public house licenses. It is 
a duty he cannot escape. So it is with the 
municipalisation. The duty of every citizen 
is to help to make the best of things he may 
not like but cannot abolish. It is the duty of 
the teetotaller to support that scheme of 
control of the liquor traffic which offers the 
best prospect of reducing its evils to the 
lowest dimensions. If municipalisation will 

do this, then the teetotaller who prevents 
this plan from being adopted is responsible 
for all the evils of the traffic which continue 
to exist, and which might have been removed 
by adopting the suggested course. We do not 
get rid of our responsibility for an evil by 
refusing to control it. We neglect our duty, 
and we are morally responsible for the con- 
sequences of the neglect. 

6. The drink would be the same evil thing 
served for profit or for the public " good." 

No, it would not be the same evil thing. 
At least we hope not. Unless the municipal 
public house sold more wholesome drink 
than is often retailed now, it is possible that 
the municipal drink question would be an 
influence to some extent at the local elections. 
But this is one of the many silly objections to 
the proposal. It is not a question of whether 
drink is good or bad, whether State prohibi- 
tion is better than Local Option ; the question 
is whether, if we must have public houses, 
it is better they should be owned by the 
people or by the brewers. 

7. It would give greater respectability to 

No. The fact that it had been placed 
under public control because it was liable 
to be a serious evil, and that the sale was 
hedged round with so many regulations, would 
be a standing proof that it was a trade which 
required very careful watching to keep it 


8. It would not be a permanent settlement 
of the drink question. 

We sincerely hope not. We claim no 
finality for it. But we do maintain that it will 
assist further temperance reform. The semi- 
public control in Sweden and No way has 
done this. The system has encouraged tem- 
perance to such an extent that some of the 
towns no longer require the presence of the 
liquor shop. Municipalisation would not 
fasten the liquor traffic on the community 
any more than the building of a fever hospital 
may be said to fasten small-pox on the com- 
munity. An intelligent people would willingly 
sacrifice any small capital which might be 
invested in public houses, if the temperance 
sentiment had become so widespread that 
the need for the houses no longer existed. 

There is no fatal objection against the 
municipalisation of the drink traffic. It is 
a proposal eminently calculated to appeal to 
the moderate men of all classes — the men 
who, while prepared to support any proposal 
which may lessen excessive drinking, are 
not willing to restrict the traffic so as to make 
it difficult or impossible to satisfy a reason- 
able desire. The scheme has the support 
of the most impartial of living temperance 
reformers — Lord Peel, the chairman of the 
Royal Commission on Licensing. Speaking 
at the third annual meeting of the Central 
Temperance Legislation Board, October, 1902, 

he said : — 

Publichouse Trust Companies he candidly owned 
he did not like. It was said that the aim was the 
elimination of private profit. True, the man behind 
the counter of a Trust public-house might have no 
personal interest in the sale of liquor, but a number 
of other private individuals would profit, and 5 per 
cent, was not a bad return on capital in these days. 
If this trust extended, the diminution of licenses would 
be rendered even more difficult. If he were driven 
to the point he would rather seek a solution in municipal 
than in private management. He would like to 
see some great city like Manchester, Liverpool, or 
Birmingham, to which the power was legally en- 
trusted — giving a time notice to all the public-houses 
within its boundaries, at the end of which time the 
municipalities would have a free hand to deal with 
the houses as they thought fit and work them, not 
for the benefit of the city, so far as the profits were 
concerned, but for the better management of the city 
itself. He had great faith in the municipalities of 
the country. 

It may be that public opinion is not yet 
ripe for any extensive experiment on the 
lines we have been suggesting, but the time 
is certainly most favourable for an energetic 
educational work to fit the people for their 
serious responsibilities in this matter of the 
public control of the Drink Traffic. 

The concentration of the retail sale of 
liquor in the hands of the community would 
probably lead to the municipal or national 
control of the sources of supply. 

The sale of liquor in clubs would require to 
be strictly regulated ; but with ample facilities 
for social recreation, provided by the muni- 
cipality, the need for private institutions of 
such a character would almost disappear. 


Chapter XIX 

The treatment of the Drink Evil is no longer 
left to the Temperance organisations. The 
responsibility for it is felt by all sections of 
society. In this recognition of the evil and 
of social responsibility is the hope of temper- 
ance reform. 

There is no short cut to universal abstinence. 
The relation of the drink question to the whole 
social problem is now being recognised by 
reformers of all schools. In so far as we elevate 
the ideals of the people, lessen the strenuousness 
of commercial and industrial life, improve the 
surroundings of the poor, increase their leisure 
and provide rational entertainment, so far 
shall we be working most effectively for tem- 
perance reform. 

At the same time, the evils of the drink 
traffic may be lessened, indeed reduced to a 
minimum, by the elimination of the incentive of \ 
private gain, and by the removal of other I 
temptations and encoura geme nts to drink. 
The schemes of reform which we have advo- 
cated in this little volume are not put forward 
as proposals for the immedia te establishment 
of a teetotal Utopia. 'iney~take facFs and fr 


conditions as they are, and seek to apply to 
them the methods suggested by experience. 
jln such a great question as this the wisest 
I of us are but as learners. It is a wise policy 
lto hasten slowly, to be guided by experience; 
and all that is claimed for our proposals is that 
taken together they form a harmonious and 
Scientific scheme of temperance reform, emi- 
nently practicable. If carried out, they will 
prepare the way for greater possibilities. 



Resolution carried on 20th September, 1907, at the 
meeting of the German Socialist Congress, held at 

" The dangers to the workmen arising from alco- 
holism have grown with the development of 
Capitalism. All these conditions which have helped 
to make him poorer have also tended to increase 
his desire to drink too much, and have made the 
satisfaction of this desire more dangerous, — such 
conditions, for example, as excessive hours of work, 
insufficient pay, and insanitary dwellings and 
workshops. Through this industrial and social 
disorganisation, and the. drinking habits thereby 
engendered, the workman is forced and accustomed 
to the inordinate use of alcohol. This habit of 
drinking has also this peculiarity, that when it be- 
comes confirmed, he loses the power any longer to 
control it. The middle-class Temperance advocate, 
as a rule, looks on drink and his own evil habit as 
the cause of the drunkard's misfortune, and — not 
wholly without design — he ignores any study of the 
original industrial and social conditions in which 
the man's thirst arose. On the other hand, he 
tries by coercive and penal laws, to force the so- 
called evil will of the drunkard, and, as a conse- 
quence of such laws, the latter has to pay twice over 
for a guilt originally brought on by the conditions 
of the society under which he lives. Capitalism 
and the State, the partners of responsibility, have 
only this amount of interest in the drink question, 
that they suffer harm through the ruin of the workman 
and his diminished productive power. 

Therefore this Congress Resolves — 

" That the evils of alcohol can neither be removed 
nor palliated by coercive or penal laws nor by the im- 
position of restrictive taxation. Such coercive 
laws only amount in the end to restrictive legisla- 


tion aimed at the poorer class of the community, 
while the rich easily escape from their consequences. 
The drunkard ought not to be surrendered to the 
lawyer, but, like every other sick person, should be 
taken in hand by the physician. Public homes for 
inebriates under medical superintendence should be 
erected and supported out of public funds. The 
limitation of public houses will only drive the drunkard 
from open indulgence in the tavern to private drinks 
in his own home. Taxes on the lighter alcoholic 
drink only force on an increased consumption of brandy. 
But the higher the tax on brandy, the more the poorer 
people who cannot to any large extent diminish its 
consumption, are plundered. 

"As a means of combating this evil, the Congress 
recommends : — (i) Shortening of the working day to 
8 hours at most. (2) The abolition of night work, or 
at least reasonable shifts of duty at night with suffi- 
cient intervals of rest. (3) Abolition of the truck 
system in alcohol. (4) Abolition of grocers' licenses 
and small clubs. (5) Increased sanitation of the 
workroom and more humane methods ' of work. (6) 
Protective legislation for children, young people 
and women. (7) Adequate wages. (8) Aboli- 
tion of those protective taxes which increase the cost 
of land and living. (9) Extension of public 
schools in accordance with the resolution of the 
Mannheim Conference. (10) A thorough Housing 
scheme with People's Palaces, reading halls, and 
public recreation grounds. (11) Also, the Trade 
Unions are recommended to get rid of everything 
that encourages drinking in their meetings, while at 
the same time, by word and writing, they enlighten 
the children and young people as to the mis- 
chievous effects arising from the misuse of alcohol. 
Children must be prevented from being served with 
alcohol. Not only then will they engage in the old 
conflict against the real evils of drinking, but 
the class conscious political and industrial organi- 

sations of the working class movement will seek 
to improve their industrial condition ; and, instead 
of seeking, in the misuse of alcohol, solace and for- 
getfulness, they will encourage a fight against Capit- 
alism. As a result of this conflict they hope to abolish 
poverty and industrial enslavement, and to find Con- 
tentment, satisfaction, and joy." 

Resolution carried unanimously at the Austrian 
Socialist Congress, held at Vienna, 13th November, 

" This Congress recognises in the drinking habits 
of the people a serious obstacle in the way of the 
successful prosecution of the Labour struggle and 
an immense drawback in the way of efficient Social- 
ist organisation. No ways should therefore be left 
untried of grappling with the serious evil. 

" The first way of working in this direction is to 
improve the economic environment of the people ; 
and in order that this may be effective, it is necessary 
to enlighten the people on the injurious and destruc- 
tive effects of alcohol. 

" The Congress therefore recommends to all its 
branches and to every comrade to encourage every 
movement that tends to discourage the drinking 
habit, and to abolish, as an important step towards 
this result, the sale of drink at all meetings of the 
party. The comrades who are total abstainers are 
recommended specially to take part in the agitation 
in the temperance societies ; and these latter on 
their part ought to take care that members do not 
neglect their duty to their political and industrial 



To ascertain to what extent workmen break time 
through drink, the writer addressed the following four 
questions to a number of representative commercial 
men and Trade Union officials. 
The questions were : — 
No. i. — What percentage of your men are absent from 
work on a Monday morning, on the average, through 
week-end drinking ? 
No. 2. — Has there been a tendency to less broken time 
and greater sobriety among the men during the 
last twenty years, and, if so, what, in your opinion, 
is the reason ? 
No. 3. — Do you think the discipline of modern indus- 
try, requiring the close attendance of the men at 
their duties, is conducive to less drinking ? 
No. 4. — What percentage of your men are annually 
discharged through drinking ? 

The replies given in regard to a syndicate in a textile 
trade, employing 5,000 men, every one of whom is a 
Trade Unionist, were as follows : — 
No. 1. — Not more than i per cent. 
No. 2. Yes. Drink evil very marked at one time. 

Twenty years ago it was a distinct evil. 
No. 3. — Better type of employfc; increased wages 
(20 per cent, up in 20 years) ; employment more 
regular ; discipline keener. 
No. 4. — In six months of 1907 only eight dismissals 
through drink. 
A City Tramways Manager, with 1,050 workmen, 
replies : — 
No. 1. — Cases unknown. 


No. 2. — Company management ended in 1902. Drink 
was a much greater evil then. Corporation 
management, by virtue of instituting better con- 
ditions (much less hours and actually increased 
wages) obtained better discipline, better type of 
men, and quickly broke up the drink evil. Sobriety 
of men now excellent. 

No. 3. — Discipline and close attendance begets a better 
type of workman when accompanied also by 
better conditions. 

No. 4. — In 1907. — 4 cases. 

An engineering firm (Manchester), employing nearly 
2,000 men, reply : — 

No. 1. — Absent 1*5. Through drink: — None. 

No. 2. — Undoubtedly so ; due, I think, to a desire 
for a better condition, which has been hastened 
by education, the creation of ideals, the healthier 
enjoyments catered for, the facilities of travelling, 
and the desire of possession. 

No. 3. — Yes. Employers cannot afford to have ma- 
chinery standing idle through the non-attendance 
of drinking men when steady and reliable men are 
requisite. Now-a-days, men have come more into 
line, due to strict supervision and discipline, which 
is enforced to a greater extent than formerly. 
Absence from work or neglect of duty entails dis- 
missal, and workmen realise the difficulty of get- 
ting fresh employment under those conditions. 

No. 4. — Two only were discharged for drunkenness 
during 1907. 

The General Manager of one of the largest English 
railways, who made a very close enquiry into the 
questions, replied : — 
No. 1. — No actual data is available ; but the answer 

is " practically nil." 
No. 2. — Sobriety has certainly increased amongst the 
Company's employes during the period mentioned. 
This is considered to be largely due to improve- 
ment in the general conditions of life and education, 


the spead of Temperance principles, and the 

exercise of a stricter discipline over the staff 
No. 3. — This is dealt with in the reply to the preceding 

No. 4. — The approximate percentage of men annually 

discharged for drunkenness is '09. 

The General Secretary of the largest Trade Union in 
the Iron Trade replied : — 

No. 1. — Probably from 2 J to 5 per cent. 

No. 2. — There has been a great improvement in the last 
20 years, I think, mainly due to education. But 
there is another thing, specialisation. At one 
time, as you know, we had all-round mechanics, 
who used to shift about from one place to another, 
and they had a good deal more of the independent 
spirit prevailing amongst them, than there is among 
those specialised and tied to a particular operation, 
conscious all the time of helplessness outside that 
operation. This has had, therefore, a tendency to 
greater sobriety, and, at the same time, greater 
timidity. As to whether one good balances the 
other evil that is a matter that I will leave to you 
to consider. 

No. 3. — I should say that probably you are right about 
discipline as to effect as stated. But while dis- 
cipline may be conducive to less drinking during 
working time, I am afraid it has a contrary effect 
at other times. I mean to say, that the man who 
is drilled to discipline at work during the day is 
not unlikely to be a very self-relying sort of chap 
away from work. 

No. 4. — Must be very small. 

A coal owner (Scotland) employing over 4,000 men, 
replies as follows > — 
No. 1. — The percentage of our miners absent from work 
on Monday morning is larger after pay Saturday 
(which is fortnightly), but, on the whole, can be put 
at 10 per cent. 
No. 2. — Our Managers do not think there is a tendency 

to less broken time and greater sobriety among the 
workmen during the last 20 years. Sobriety or 
the reverse depends greatly on rate of wages. At 
present wages are high, miners making 8s. and 9s. 
per day, and having more to spend. They spend 
too much on drink when wages are high. 
No. 3. — The discipline of modern industry does not 
apply so much to miners as to other classes of work- 
men, engineers, etc. They are the most independent 
men on the face of the earth, and, though a miner 
is off work, he is not dismissed. His working 
place is there, and unless it falls greatly behind 
through idle time, he does as he pleases. I would 
say, however, that where machines work the coal, 
instead of the men, the miners who attend the 
machines are much more steady, as they must be 
out regularly, or the machines would stand, and 
great expense would be incurred. 
No. 4. — We don't dismiss them for drinking, so can't 
give a percentage. 
Speaking at the annual meeting of the United King- 
dom Alliance, on October 15th, 1907, Mr. Lloyd George, 
M.P., said : " It was found from enquiries amongst 
employers, that on Monday morning, about 25 to 75 per 
cent, of their workpeople did not turn up owing to drink, 
and when they did come back to work they • had muddy 
intellects and impaired vitality." Mr. Lloyd George 
afterwards corrected himself : "I ought to have said 
5 to 75 per cent. Whatever I actually said that is what 
I meant to say. Seventy-five per cent, is an outside 
figure, and there are not many of these. But 25 per cent, 
is reported to the Board of Trade by employers in many 
cases ; in other instances the percentage sinks to 5." 

The " Birmingham Daily Post," on October 17th, 
the " Scotsman," of October 18th, the " Yorkshire 
Evening Post," of October 18th and 21st, and the 
" Morning Advertiser," of October 25th, published re- 
ports of investigations made into the accuracy of Mr. 
Lloyd George's statement. No employer could be 
found to confirm Mr. Lloyd George's statement. 



Sir John Brunner (Brunner, Mond, and Co.) in 
reply to an enquiry as to the effect of the Eight Hours 
Day on sobriety, has kindly supplied us with a large 
amount of striking testimony. He says : — 

" It is impossible to show the improvement by actual 
figures, but everyone who has known the works long 
enough to be able to compare the old conditions with 
the new, is agreed as to the immense change for the 
better. The loss of time under the old conditions 
was almost entirely caused by insobriety. 

"Since the introduction of shorter hours, the time 
lost by the men has greatly declined, and for 1906 was 
as follows : — 

Tradesmen Other daymen. Shiftmen. 

Days per year. Days per year. Days per year. 
0*2 0*3 0*4 

"In 1892 (before the adoption of shorter hours), the 
lost time was : — 

Tradesmen 12*6 days. 

Other Daymen 6*6 days. 

Shift men 2*9 days." 

Sir John Brunner gives very striking figures, showing 
the improved health, the growth of the Co-operative 
Societies, etc., since the adoption of the Shorter Working 

Sir William Mather (Mather and Piatt, Salford Iron 
Works) has very kindly supplemented by recent facts 
the information he published in 1894, as to the results of 
his experience of the Eight Hours Day. After twelve 
months' experience, the departmental managers wrote : 
" During the past twelve months I am glad to be able 
to report none of my men have come to work under the 


influence of drink. The case in this respect formerly 
was bad." 

" I have no fault to And with the men as to steadiness 
and sobriety. There is great improvement in that 

Sir William Mather (writing to us 14 years later, 
January 14th, 1908) says : — 

"The experience of the foremen given in 1894 may be 
taken as the present condition of habit and conduct of 
the men. Notwithstanding the fluctuations in employ- 
ment, and the changing of men from time to time, 
consequent on the state of trade, our foremen inform 
me now that it is rare indeed that we have to complain 
of any conduct arising from drink. 

" Our works were at onetime beset with publichouses, 
being situated in the most densely populated and poorest 
parts of the town of Salf ord. During the last 1 5 years 
many public-houses have been abolished in the borough 
and during the last five years at least 50 have succumbed 
to the better habits of working men. Pari passu 
with the movement, the number of places of amuse- 
ment, at which there is no drink license, has more than 
doubled, and the drinking places are decidedly less fre- 
quented. We are informed that men are now accom- 
panied by their wives and children in enjoying the 
amusements offered, whereas, in resorting to the 
public-house, the men were alone. We have a large 
institute connected with the works in Salford, in 
which are carried on various societies established by 
the men themselves, such as " ambulance classes," 
and the " Pleasant Sunday Afternoons," " Band of 
Hope," etc., which, though not confined to the work- 
people, are largely supported by them. One of our 
Managers in a very superior position, who came to me as 
a boy, and who knows the history of these works for the 
last 30 years, states : — ' All the questions in Mr. Snow- 
den's letter as to improvement in sobriety may safely 
be answered in the affirmative.' " 



Accrington, 136. 

Aged Poor, Royal Commission on, 90. 

Arrests for Drunkenness, 4. • . 

Asquith, Mr., 138. 

Austrian Socialists, 32 ; Appendix I. :•..'• 

Bands of Hope, 23. 

Beer, Origin of, 18. 

Belgian Socialists, 32. 

Bessbrook, 134. 

Birmingham, 163, 181. 

Booth, Chas., 59, 87, 90, 92, 95. 

Brewers for Sale, 172. 

Broadbent, Sir William, 13. 

Broken Time ; Appendix II. 

Bronardel, Dr., 14. 

Bunge, Prof., 12. 

Burns, Dr. Dawson, 34, 103, 108. 

Burns, Mr. J., 48, 55, 87. 

Burt, Mr. Thos., 28. 

Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H., 93. 

Canada, 127. 

Cancer, 14. 

Causes of Drinking, 71. 

Chamberlain, Mr. J., 90, 163, 178. 

Chancellor of Exchequer, 74, 109. 

Chemical Workers, 64. 

Children, Deficient, 11. 

Clubs, 138. 

Coats' Syndicate, 107. 

Coleridge, Lord, 7. 

Consumption of Drink, in U.S.A., '125 ; in Canada, 

127 ; in New Zealand, 130. 
Convictions, 61. 
Co-operative Societies, 26. 


Coroners on Drink, 7. 

Cotton Trade and Employment, 104. 

Cotton Workers and Health, 62. 

Crime, 4. 

Dawson, Rev. W. J., 114. 

Deaths from Drink, 14. 

Disease, Drink and, Medical Report on, 9. 

Disinterested Management, 139. 

Drink Bill, 34, 103 ; in United States, 125 ; New Zea- 
land, 131. 

Drunkenness and Crime, 4 ; Arrests, 4 ; in Liverpool, 5. 

Durham, Housing in, 61. 

Elan Canteen, 181. 

Employment, 85, 103. 

Epilepsy, 10. 

Expenditure upon Drink, 34. (See Wages and Drink 

Foreign Trade, 103. 

German Socialists, 32 ; Appendix I. 

Gill, A. H., 29. 

Gin Drinking, 19. 

Gladstone, Mr. H., 112. 

Gladstone, W. E., 136. 

Gothenburg System, 140. 

Gould, Dr., 148. 

Grantham, Judge, 6, 62. 

Harcourt, Sir Wm„ in. 

Harrogate Canteen, 182. 

Hayler, G„ 116. 

Hime, Dr., 59. 

Housing, 58, 62, 78. 

Hoyle, Wm„ 108. 

Idiocy, 10. 

Income Tax, 104. 

Industrial Revolution, 20. 

Insurance Companies, 15. 

Kansas, 116. 

Labour Party, 29, 3a 

Lawrence, Judge, 83. 


Lawson, Sir Wilfrid, no. 

Leif Jones, 112. 

Liquor Trade and Unemployment, 105, 106. 

Liverpool, 5. 

Local Option, no, 112, 119 ; in United States, 124; 
in Canada, 126 ; in New Zealand, 128 ; in Aus- 
tralia, 131 ; at Home, 133. 

Lunacy, 10, 16. 

Macdonnell, Sir John, 5. 

Maine, 113, 116. 

Malins, J., 116. 

Mayors, Teetotal 22. 

Medical Petition, 80. 

Mining, 38 ; Appendix II. 

Neale Dow, 166. 

Nelson, 136. 

New York, Report of Medical'Academy, n. 

Norway, 141, 145. 

Occupations, 38. 

Peel, Lord, 189. 

Permissive Bill, no. 

Physical Deterioration, Report of Committee on, 8, 
59, 62. 

Placards, Temperance, 81. 

Port Sunlight, 136, 157. 

Poverty, 49, 86. 

Prohibition States, 114. 

Railways, 107. 

Recreation, 82 ; Appendix III. 

Rent, 1 01, 102. 

Rowntree, S„ 88. 

Scottish Temperance League, 147. 

Sexton, J., 31. 

Shorter Hours, 74; Appendix IIL 

Shuttleworth, Dr., 10. 

Small Holdings, 84. 

Socialists, Continental, 31. 

Steadman, W. C, 29. 

Suckling, 12. 


Sullivan, Dr., 10. 

Sweden, 141, 145, 

Temperance Societies, 21, 22. 

Temperance Teaching, 8a 

Textile Trades, 37. 

Thorold Rogers, 94. 

Time Limit, 1 59, 

Toxteth, 102, 134. 

Trades Unions, 25 ; Fellowship, 28. 

Trust Companies, 149. 

Wages Spent on Drink, 63, 85. 

Warner, Prot, 89. 

White, Sir Geo., 85, 91, 103, 105. 

Whittaker, Sir T. P., 35, 86, 92. 

Whyte, Jas„ 108, 123. 

Women and Drink, 41, 56. 

Printed at The Worker Press, Market St., Huddersfield. 



FOR some time it has been felt that there is a 
deplorable lack in this country of a Socialist 
literature more exhaustive and systematic than 
pamphlets or newspaper articles. In every 
other country where the Socialist movement is 
vigorous, such a literature exists, and owing to 
it Socialism has taken a firmer hold upon the 
intellectual classes, and, amongst Socialists 
themselves, its theories and aims are better 
understood than they are here. 

Comparing the output of Socialist literature 
in Germany and France with Great Britain, one 
must be struck with the ephemeral nature of 
the great bulk of the matter which we publish, 
and the almost complete absence of any attempts 
to deal exhaustively with Socialism in its many 
bearings in economics, history, sociology and 
ethics. This failure is all the more to be re- 
gretted, because just as the special develop- 
ment of British industrialism afforded the basis 
for much of the constructive work of foreign 
Socialists half a century ago, so the growth of 
British democratic institutions and the 
characteristics of British political methods 
have a special and direct bearing upon Socialist 
theories and tactics. 

It is also disquieting to think that, on the 
one hand, the intellectual life of our country 
is becoming more and more attached in its 
interests and sympathies to reaction, and that, 
on the other, so many who lift up their voices 
against backward tendencies either look behind 
with regretful regard upon policies which are 
exhausted and can no longer guide us, or 
frankly confess that they are disconsolate 
without hope. 

To the promoters of this Library, Socialism 
appears to be not only the ideal which has to be 
grasped before the benumbing pessimism which 
lies upon the minds of would-be reformers can 
be removed, but also the one idea which is 
guiding such progressive legislation and ad- 
ministration to-day as are likely to be of per- 
manent value. But those experimenting with 
it are only groping ; are working with an 
instrument they do not understand ; are 
applying an idea they have not grasped ; and 
it is therefore believed that as a practical 
contribution to political principles and methods, 
the Library may be of some value. 

The Library, however, with more assurance 
of definite success, will aim at providing studies 
in Socialism, or from Socialistic standpoints, 
which will be stimulating to the Socialist 
movement, and which may do something to 
knit together the different sections of Socialist 
opinion and activity in this country. It will 
contain translations of the best works of foreign 
Socialists, as well as contributions from our 
own writers. 

It follows that the volumes will not be selected 
because they advocate any particular school of 
Socialist thought, but because they are believed 
to be worthy expositions of the school to which 
they belong. 
April, 1905. 

I.— Socialism and Positive Science, by Pro- 
fessor Enrico Ferri. is. and is. 6d. 

5th Edition. 
II. — Socialism and Society. By J. Ramsay 

MacDonald, M.P. is. and is. 6d. 6th 

III. — Studies in Socialism. By J. Jaures. 

is. and is. 6d. 2nd Edition. 
IV. — White Capital and Coloured Labour. 

By Sydney Olivier, K.C.M.G. is. and 

is. 6d. 
V. — Collectivism and Industrial Evolution. 

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The I.L.P. Year Book. Edited by Philip Snowden-